Donovan Nelson

Igbo Landing (alternatively written as Ibo Landing, Ebo Landing, or Ebos Landing) is a historic site in the sand and marshes of Dunbar Creek in St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia. It was the setting of the final scene of an 1803 resistance of enslaved Igbo people brought from West Africa on slave ships. Its moral value as a story of resistance towards slavery has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history. Wikipedia


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Ibo Landing 7

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In May 1803 a shipload of seized West Africans, upon surviving the middle passage, were landed by US-paid captors in Savannah by slave ship, to be auctioned off at one of the local slave markets. The ship's enslaved passengers included a number of Igbo people from what is now Nigeria. The Igbo were known by planters and slavers of the American South for being fiercely independent and more unwilling to tolerate chattel slavery. The group of 75 Igbo slaves were bought by agents of John Couper and Thomas Spalding for forced labour on their plantations in St. Simons Island for $100 each. The chained slaves were packed under the deck of a small vessel named the The Schooner York to be shipped to the island (other sources write the voyage took place aboard The Morovia). During this voyage the Igbo slaves rose up in rebellion taking control of the ship and drowning their captors in the process causing the grounding of the Morovia in Dunbar Creek at the site now locally known as Ebo Landing. The following sequence of events is unclear as there are several versions concerning the revolt's development, some of which are considered mythological. Apparently the Africans went ashore and subsequently, under the direction of a high Igbo chief who was among them walked in unison into the creek singing in Igbo language "The Water Spirit brought us, the Water Spirit will take us home", thereby accepting the protection of their God, Chukwu and death over the alternative of slavery. Roswell King, a white overseer on the nearby Pierce Butler plantation, wrote one of the only contemporary accounts of the incident which states that as soon as the Igbo landed on St. Simons Island they took to the swamp, committing suicide by walking into Dunbar Creek. A 19th century Savannah-written account of the event lists the surname Patterson for the captain of the ship and Roswell King as the person who recovered the bodies of the drowned A letter describing the event written by William Mein, a slave dealer from Mein, Mackay and Co. of Savannah states that the Igbo walked into the marsh, where 10 to 12 drowned, while some were "salvaged" by bounty hunters who received $10 a head from Spalding and Couper. Survivors of the Igbo rebellion were taken to Cannon’s Point on St. Simons Island and Sapelo Island where they passed on their recollections of the events.

— Wikipedia


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Donovan Nelson was born in Manchester, Jamaica, WI and in 1982, he relocated to the U.S.  In 1995, Nelson

received a B.F.A in illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.  Additionally, he studied portraiture and figure painting at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Nelson received an M.F.A. from the New York Academy where he studied with Martha Erlebacher, Vincent Desiderio, Jack Beal, Alfred Lesley, and Juan Cardenas.


Nelson lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.



1996 - M.F.A.(painting) New York Academy of Art, New York 
1990-1994 -B.F.A. (Illustration) The University of the Arts, Philadelphia
1992-1994 - Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1999-2003 - The Art Students League of New York

2004 - Valentine New York, Art award for oil painting
1998, 1999, 2000 - Plainfield Art Fair, 1st place drawing and painting
1995 - New York Academy of Art, (scholarship)
1994 - University of the Arts, Purchase Award
1993, 1992 - Society of Illustrators, Annual Scholarship Competition


2015 - Welancora Gallery, New York
2012 - Art Horizon’s LeRoy Neiman, New York
2012 - Dorsey Art Gallery, New York
2011 - NY State Building, New York
2011 - The Art Gallery, New York
2010 - Clover Art Gallery, New York
2010 - Medgar Evers College Gallery, New York
2006 - Mocada Museum, New York
2005 - York College-Art Show, New York
2003 - Off the Main – Art Show, New York
2003 - Vanderbilt Gallery, New York
2003 - National Black Fine Arts Show, New York
2003 - Moon Child Fine Arts, New York
2002 - Rongio Gallery, New York
2002 - Fulton Art Fair, New York
2002 - Welancora Gallery, New York
2002 - Manhattan Borough President’s Office, New York
2001 - Salena Gallery, New York
2001 - Fulton Art Fair, New York
2001 - Plainfield Art Fair, New Jersey
2000 - Watchung Art Center Gallery, New Jersey
1998 - The African American Art Museum, New York
1997 - Lewis Gallery, New York
1997 - Penn Tower Hotel, Pennsylvania
1996 - M.F.A Exhibition, New York Academy of Art, New York
1994 - Exhibition, Illustration Department, University of the Arts, Pennsylvania
1993 - West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance Biannual, Pennsylvania
1990 - The Gallery at APF, Pennsylvania
1990 - Axiom Gallery, Pennsylvania
1989 - St. Joseph University, Pennsylvania


2011 - Present, Teacher, Arts Horizons, New York
2007 - Present, Professor, New York City College of Technology
2007 - Present, Teacher, The Children’s Arts Carnival, New York
2006 - Teacher, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, New York
2005 - Curator, The Dedicators, Inc. Annual Celebration of Black Artists, New York
2005 - Mural Project, New York City Housing Authority, New York
2003 - Commissioned Painting, Medgar Evers 50th Anniversary Celebration, New York
2003 - Mural Project, The Weeksville Society, New York
2003 - Commissioned Painting, NYS Attorney General Oliver Koppell, State Capital Building, New York
2003 - Commissioned Painting, Public and Private, New York
2002 - Featured, Brooklyn Cable Television, New York
2002 - Mural Project, Amazon Café, New York
1998-2003 - Art Teacher, Thomas Jefferson H.S., New York
1998 - Commissioned Artwork for CD Cover, Universal Records, New York
1997 - Muralist, Modeworks Inc., New York
1996 - Gallery Assistant, Forum Gallery, New York
1994 - Designer, Manyunk Theater, Pennsylvania
1994- Tutor (Painting and Drawing), University of the Arts, Pennsylvania


Brooklyn Borough Hall, New York
Emmanuel Baptist Church, New York
Medgar Evers College, New York
New York City Housing Authority, New York
October Gallery, Pennsylvania
St. Paul Community Baptist Church, New York
New York State Capital Building, New York
The Greater Allen Cathedral, New York
Wilberforce College, Ohio


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