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Donald Rodney

  • CountryUnited Kingdom
  • Born1961
  • Died1998


Born in 1961 in Birmingham, UK, Donald Rodney first achieved visibility as part of The Blk Art Group in the early 1980s. During that decade, he went on to become a key figure within the broad alliance of artists, which came to be known as The Black Art Movement. He explored themes of black masculinity, the body and the stereotyping of young black man as ‘public enemy’ and icon of danger. 

In the following years, his wide-ranging practice came to defy simple categorisation both thematically, and through its innovative approach to materials and technical processes. On March 1998, Rodney died from sickle- cell anemia, aged 36. His artistic career had spanned two decades and produced some of the most engaging and innovative work by a British artist of his generation. 

Iniva has played a key role in the recognition of Rodney’s work, publishing AUTOICON in 2000, a dynamic internet work that simulates both the physical presence and elements of his creative personality, as well as hosting Donald Rodney In Retrospect in 2008, which brought together a number of Rodney’s seminal works dating from the late 1980s to his final solo exhibition in 1997, 9 Night in Eldorado. 

Rodney had 6 solo exhibitions stemming from 1985-1997. He also showed and participated in numerous other exhibitions and residencies across this period. In 1996, he was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Sculpture and Installation. Rodney’s last solo exhibition, dedicated to the memory of his father, 9 Night in Eldorado opened at the South London Gallery in 1997. 

In 2016, ‘Reimaging Donald Rodney took place at Vivid Projects, Birmingham. It expanded on the potential of Rodney’s archive as a resource for challenging our conceptions of cultural, physical and social identity. 

Rodney succumbed to sickle-cell anaemia in 1998. 

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