Godfried Donkor - The Currency of Ntoma (2012, two channel video). © Courtesy the artist.
An audio recording of the event is available at the bottom of this page.
Artist Godfried Donkor in conversation with Dr Christine Checinska about his work and his sustained engagement with the social life and circulation of lace and textiles.
In the 2012 film The Currency of Ntoma Godfried Donkor relates the personal story of his Ghanaian mother's collection of Dutch Wax prints (a fabric with its own complex history of migration and appropriation) and the individual significance each design holds. The title of the work alludes to the circulation of textiles as a commodity and how by forming these collections West African women assert degrees of financial and cultural independence.
Other works such as Once upon a time in the west, there was lace (mixed media installation,2008) have investigated of the history of the lace trade in Nottingham with its reliance on imported cotton from 'the new world' and links to the slave trade and colonial expansion. Donkor's painting and collages makes frequent use of archival imagery, in particular the iconography of the middle passage, to show the enduring traumatic presence of the past. The Nottingham exhibition also featured contemporary streetwear garments re - imagined in lace and worn by local youth. These hot pants and hoodies speak about how fabric on the body animates both personal histories and the longer histories of the legacies of colonialism.
Godfried Donkor is an internationally renowned artist who has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, The Institute of Contemporary Art, London, the National Museum in Ghana, Tate Modern and at the Dakar Biennale in Senegal where he won the 'Prix de la Revelation'. He was born in 1964 in Kumasi Ghana, the son of a dressmaker and moved to the UK as a child. His studies have included an MA in African Art History at the School of Oriental and African Studies and a BA in fine art practice at Central Saint Martins and post graduate studies at Escolla Massana in Barcelona.
Dr Christine Shaw-Checinska Is a designer, writer and curator. Christine's work is situated at the meeting point between material culture and contemporary art. She writes about the relationship between cloth, culture and race. The cultural exchanges that occur as a result of movement and migration, creating creolised cultural forms, are her recurring themes. The correlation between personal history and received history is an ongoing interest. She is currently an Associate Researcher at VIAD, University of Johannesburg and an Associate Lecturer in fashion at Goldsmiths,London. As a creative designer, Christine has created womenswear collections for a number of iconic British brands including Margaret Howell. She is currently Head of Design at Navabi. Her natural design flair and creative energy has seen her anticipating new trends, styling press launches, fashion shows and shoots, alongside mentoring emerging fashion practitioners.