Godfried Donkor (b. 1964, Kumasi, Ghana) studied art and art history at Saint Martins College of Art, receiving his BA Fine Art (Painting) in 1989. He studied postgraduate Fine Art at Escola Massana, Barcelona, Spain, before completing an MA in African Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 1995.
As an artist straddling borders between continents and cultures, Godfried Donkor is interested in historical and sociological issues, and specifically in the shared history of the peoples of Africa and Europe. In his work, he reflects on the commodification of people in all its facets. Borrowing iconography from mass media, and mixing styles and imagery that originate from conflicting sides of the political and cultural divides, Donkor creates works in painting, mixed-media collage, print, and most recently video.
Donkor emphasizes creolization as the creative force that emerges from cultural interaction between societies. His works frequently depict contemporary figures shown rising from cross-sections of old sailing ships, a recurrent metaphor for the transportation of slaves from West Africa to the New World.
For EVA International, Donkor has created a new work on the history of lace with lace: the Rebel Madonna Lace design has been made from a series of drawings by the artist, inspired both by traditional Limerick lace patterns and by images from Donkor’s own visual archive. Along with Adinkra symbols (symbols of hope and commitment of the Ashanti people, Ghana) are contemporary images from the city of Kumasi, Ghana, and historical images of Europe and Africa. This lace piece has been handmade – an extremely long process – in Limerick. This lace is exhibited along with two garments made of commercially produced lace from Ghana: a jumpsuit and a straight jacket. Donkor’s research into the history of the defunct lace production in Limerick city echoes his own experience of the continuing use of and craze for lace in West Africa – in his case Ghana.