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.