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Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga studies the social and topographical changes of the environment around her. 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. The artist’s research unites all of the various components that make up our environment, observing the inherent complexities of resources like soil and earth and their potential values in order to provoke narratives and stories about the land.

As an anthropologist - tracing the violent means by which contested minerals and objects are exhumed from their natural environments – Nkanga places the various occurrences of the colonization process in a contemporary context. By doing this, the artist re-imagines our relationship to our everyday environment, and raises questions about the historical structure of a place, both physically and metaphysically.

Otobong Nkanga (Kano, Nigeria, 1974) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.
Her most recent solo exhibitions include A Lapse, a Stain, a Fall, ar/ge kunst, Bolzano (2018); To Dig a Hole that Collapses Again, MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); Wetin You Go Do?, The Tanks at Tate Modern, Blavatnik Building, London (2017); The Encounter That Took a Part of Me, Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus (2017); The Encounter That Took a Part of Me, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2016); Diaoptasia, Tate Modern, London (2015); Comot Your Eyes Make I Borrow You Mine, Kadist Art Foundation FR, Paris (2015); Crumbling Through Powdery Air, Portikus, Frankfurt (2015).

Additionally, her work has been included in institutional group exhibitions such as 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2019); Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber, Sharjah (2019); Artes Mundi 2018, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff (2018); Cosmogonies, au gré des éléments, Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain (MAMAC), Nice (2018); General Rehearsal, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2018); Documenta 14, Athens / Kassel (2017); I am a native foreigner, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2017); Take Me (I’m Yours), Pirelli Hangarbicocca, Milan (2017); Dialogues, Manifesta – The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (2017); Life Itself, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016); Museum on/off, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); 13th Biennale de Lyon, La vie moderne, Lyon (2015). 

Flanders Arts Institute

Expertise centre for performing arts, music and visual arts.