Bonnie Donohue is a photographer, video artist, and writer who has worked in places of conflict, such as South Africa before the end of apartheid, Northern Ireland before the peace accords, and Vieques, Puerto Rico during and after the US military presence on the island. Her work examines displacement and loss as military structures transform human settlements into uninhabitable spaces; it conjures forgotten figures from military and civilian archives. Recent work includes large-scale panoramic photographs of over 100 military bunkers that are features in the western end of Vieques and a public art installation at the site of one of the bunkers. Her photographic exhibition in collaboration with cultural anthropologist Katherine McCaffrey, Killing Mapepe: Sex and Death in Cold War Vieques has traveled to several museums and cultural centers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. She is co-authoring a book with Katherine McCaffrey about the militarization of Puerto Rico in the 20th century, and writing a play on the murder of Mapepe Francis in Cold War Vieques in 1953.
Her current project in Germany includes research and documentation, via drone from the air and cameras on the ground, at the site of the former Iron Curtain, now known as the European Green Belt. The European Green Belt reverses the trend of military incursions into civilian spaces, as it has erased 12,000 km of contiguous military fortifications that stretched from Finland to Greece during the Cold War era, and transformed it into a contiguous green space. The thin green line traversing 26 countries is a sliver of utopian free space, open to all, in an increasingly authoritarian and bordered world.
"Killing Mapepe: Race, Sex and Colonial Politics in Cold War Vieques," by Katherine T. McCaffrey and Bonnie Donohue. In Caribbean Military Encounters, Puri, Shalini and Laura Putnam, eds. Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming May 2017).Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-59058-9; ebook ISBN: 978-1-137-58014-6
"Perpetual War," Katherine McCaffrey and Bonnie Donohue. Anthropology Now, (7:12–25, September, 2015). ISSN: 1942-8200 print/ 1949-2901 online. (7:12–25, September, 2015).
Awards and fellowships include:
- 2016/17 Faculty Fellow, Johnathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, SMFA at Tufts University
- Puffin Foundation grant
- Fellowship, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
- LEF Foundation award
- NEH Interdisciplinary Summer Institute Fellow, Mapping and Art in the Americas, Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, Newberry Library, Chicago.
- New England Regional Film/Video Fellowship
- David and Reva Logan Artist Book award
- American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker award