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Donald Gladstone Rodney
Dates: British, 1961-1998
Biographical Account:

Donald Rodney was an English artist and key contributor to The Blk Art Group. He was born in 1961 in Birmingham and studied Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham. Rodney met fellow art student Keith Piper whilst at Nottingham which had a profound impact upon him and led to his politicisation as an artist. Through Piper Rodney met Eddie Chambers, Marlene Smith and Claudette Johnson amongst others and with them he became part of a fluid line up of radical black artists whose work addressed the experience of being black. They exhibited work together in various shows, including several under the title The Pan-Afrikan Connection, as well as The Blk Art Group. Rodney was part of a generation of British-born black artists, filmmakers and performers who began to challenge notions of what it meant to be British.

 

As Rodney matured as an artist, his work became increasingly politicised. He often incorporated text and used images from the media, art and popular culture in his work. He began making paintings, but from the mid 1980s he made mixed media installations.

 

Rodney often references his own illness in his work. He had suffered from sickle cell anaemia throughout his life and had spent long periods of time in hospital. Rodney included x-rays in his work which referenced the body and medicine, but also acted as a metaphor for a society diseased by racism, police brutality and apartheid.

 

He died in 1998.

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