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Otobong Nkanga emerges as the 2025 Nasher Prize Laureate


In Dallas, the Nasher Sculpture Center has awarded Antwerp-based, Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga its Nasher Prize, which comes with a $100,000 award and an exhibition at the museum. Nkanga’s exhibition, which will be accompanied by a monograph, will open in April 2025.


Through a broad range of materials, used to orchestrate an equally broad range of artistic practices, the 2025 Nasher Prize Laureate, Otobong Nkanga, weaves together powerful works that delve into the complex, often fragile relationships between humans, the land, and its resources, touching on issues of consumption, global circulation, connectivity, and care.


Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) Taste of a Stone, 2010/20 Marble pebbles
Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) | Taste of a Stone, 2010/20

Otobong Nkanga, was born in Kano, Nigeria in 1974, grew up in Lagos and Paris, and lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Over the past 20 years she has been producing evocative works that speak to migration and her own movement in the world, the exhaustive use of planetary resources, and the interconnectedness of people and the land. Her enigmatic art, which relies on extensive research into the places it inhabits, frequently uses raw materials such as minerals, metals, stones, and plants to elicit new meanings, stored memories, and emotional connections for her audience.


“The work of Otobong Nkanga makes manifest the myriad connections—historical, sociological, economic, cultural, and spiritual— that we have to the materials that comprise our lives,” says Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick. “Delving deeply into the variegated meanings these materials take on, Nkanga’s work makes clear the essential place of sculpture in contemporary life.”


Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) Anamnesis, 2015 Plywood, gauze, coffee,
Otobong Nkanga | Anamnesis, 2015

Otobong Nkanga demonstrates tremendous ambition in the way she considers the materials of her artworks, pursuing a holistic understanding of the substances with which she builds. She brings sensitivity and focus to the formal and sensuous qualities of the land’s resources, creating interactions with complex systems that underline how enmeshed we are with the earth, its contents, and each other.



Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) Leaving trails in the distance, 2021 Wool carpet, cotton hand-knotted ropesOtobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) Leaving trails in the distance, 2021 Wool carpet, cotton hand-knotted ropes
Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974) Leaving trails in the distance, 2021


Image 1:


Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974)

Taste of a Stone, 2010/20

Marble pebbles, Hedera Helix, Sempervivum arachnoideum, Sedum acre, Sedum rupestre, Linaria alpina, Tillandsia multiflora, Tillandsia straminea, Tillandsia aeranthos clump, reindeer moss, boulders, gneiss, granite, Iceland lichen, inkjet prints on Galala limestone slabs, Kolanut Tales–Dismembered, 2016, woven textile (yarns: polyester, organic cotton, linen, acryl), 82 4/5 x 68 4/5 inches (210 x 175 cm)

Installation view of Otobong Nkanga: There’s No Such Thing as Solid Ground at Gropius Bau, 2020

Photo: Luca Girardini


Image 2

Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974)

Anamnesis, 2015

Plywood, gauze, coffee, tea, spices, cacao, raw tobacco, peat 204 3/5 x 451 1/5 inches (520 x 1146 cm)

Installation view of Streamline., Ozeane, Welthandel and Migration. Oceans, Global Trade and Migration at the Deichtorhallen, 2015


Image 3:

Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian/Belgian, b. 1974)

Leaving trails in the distance, 2021

Wool carpet, cotton hand-knotted ropes, weeping beech wood sculptures, hand-blown glass sculptures, clay sculptures, metal, sound, organic materials and various oils




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