Accra

Godfried Donkor, St. Peter, 2019, oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on linen, 49 1⁄4 × 30 3⁄4".

Godfried Donkor, St. Peter, 2019, oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on linen, 49 1⁄4 × 30 3⁄4".

Godfried Donkor

Gallery 1957

In the first show of a two-part exhibition, “Battle Royale: Last Man Standing,” British-Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor exhumed the ties that bind the dark history of boxing across three continents. The title refers to a tradition in Jim Crow America, in which black men—often blindfolded—were encouraged to engage in battles royal, bludgeoning one another senseless for onlookers’ entertainment, with a prize purse going to the last man standing. While legend has it that boxing came to Ghana via its bloodthirsty colonizers (whose aristocrats used to dabble in sparring with those deemed inferior to their station), the sport has a long history in West Africa. According to Emmanuel Akyeampong, in a 2002 essay for the International Journal of African Historical Studies, pugilism, known as asafo atwele, was accepted as a means of social advancement among the Ga people of Accra, long before a white

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