Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga’s multidisciplinary practice spans drawing, photography, installation, video and performance, and focuses on the interrelation between environment, architecture and history. Her work weaves together concerns about land, natural resources, architecture, the value connected to them and the dynamic status of remembrance. These predominantly political topics are incorporated into poetic combinations of autobiographic and collective narratives, memories and concepts.

For the BelgianArtPrize, Otobong Nkanga is interested in the notions of corrosion, oxidation, impregnation and contamination. With three textile pieces and a steel sculpture, she continues to explore the transformation processes of materials. She experiments with crystallization of a textile piece (Steel to Rust – Slow Growth), or with a rusted and laser-cut plate in steel, evoking the effects of corrosion (Steel to Rust – Resistance), or in another textile piece with the slow impregnation of a liquid contaminating thus the poem that has been woven in it (In a Place Yet Unknown). Her inspiration comes from the transformation processes present in our society, seemingly built on cast-iron values, but in which hide beneath the surface (in)visible mechanisms of corrosion, crystallisation of ideologies and the birth of new structures, all signs of life.



Otobong Nkanga was born in 1974 in Kano, Nigeria, and has lived in Antwerp for nine years. She recently had solo exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary (2016), In Situ Gallery in Paris (2016), Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2016), M HKA in Antwerp (2015), Somerset House in London (2015), Portikus in Frankfurt (2015), Kadist Art Foundation in Paris (2015) and the Performance Room at Tate Modern in London (2015). In 2016, she also had major international projects in Shanghai and Beirut (Landversation). She has taken part in several international group exhibitions, including the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015), the 31st São Paulo Biennial (2014), the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014) and the Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013). She won the Yanghyun Prize in 2015. In 2013 – 2014, she was a guest of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm – Artists-in-Berlin Program.

In 2017 she participates at Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.


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