Godfried Donkor, Ebony Lagos Edition, 2015, Collage on Paper, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy Gallery 1957
Godfried Donkor, Ebony Lagos Edition, 2015, Collage on Paper, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy Gallery 1957  

As an artist traversing two continents and cultures, Godfried Donkor is interested in historical and sociological issues, with particular heed to the shared history of Africa and Europe. In this context, he reflects on the commercialisation of people (slavery, that is, both ancient and modern) amongst a network of other themes that run through his individual work cycles. Donkor frequently uses newspaper print such as the stock market figures from the Financial Times as seemingly incongruous backgrounds for his collages.

In Donkor’s People of Utopia, the figure of the saint occupies a central position, floating, as it were, over the endless columns of stock market data. Mostly the illustrated figures are depicted as arising from cross-sections of old sailing ships – an analogy to the transportation of slaves from West Africa to the New World. Whether a boxer, a football player or a pin-up girl, each figure remains the same in the human ‘goods’ trade, starting from its most extreme form of slavery, to variations in sport and the entertainment industry.