Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga portrait square MR.jpg

Otobong Nkanga, visual artist, Antwerp, Belgium

Otobong Nkanga (b. 1974 Kano, Nigeria; lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium) began her art studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and later continued her studies in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. She has been artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (2002-2004) and she finished her Masters in the Performing Arts at Dasarts, Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance studies, Amsterdam (2005-2008). Furthermore she has been artist-in-residence at the DAAD, Berlin (2014) and at Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019).

Nkanga’s drawings, installations, photographs, videos, sculptures, poetry and performances examine the social and topographical relationship to our everyday environment. By exploring the notion of land as a place of non belonging, Nkanga provides an alternative meaning to the social ideas of identity. Paradoxically, she brings to light the memories and historical impacts provoked by humans and nature. She lays out the inherent complexities of resources like soil and earth and their potential values in order to provoke narratives and stories connected to land.

Nkanga has exhibited widely in exhibitions around the world, including Documenta 14 (Greece and Germany), Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Sharjah Biennial (UAE) as well as solo presentations at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (USA) and Tate Modern (UK). Her most recent solo exhibitions took place at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Høvikodden, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Tate St Ives, Gropius Bau in Berlin and Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town. For 2021 she is preparing solo exhibitions in Villa Arson (France), Castello di Rivoli (Italy) and Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria). Otobong Nkanga is the 1st recipient of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award, (Norway – 2019), and was awarded the Peter Weiss Preis (Bochum - 2019), the Special Mention Award of the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Venice - 2019), the 2019 Sharjah Biennial Award (Sharjah - 2019), the Flemish Cultural Award for Visual Arts - Ultima (Brussels - 2019), the Belgian Art Prize (Brussels - 2017) and the 8th Yanghyun Art Prize (Seoul - 2015).