Otobong Nkanga‘s drawings, installations, photographs, videos and sculptures variously examine ideas around land and the value connected to its resources. She often utilises body and voice in order to articulate her own reactions to existing structures and their implications. She finds inspiration for this in observing social and topographic changes in her surroundings and the influences that arise from these. As a human trace that testifies of ways of living and environmental issues, architecture and landscape act as a sounding board for narration and “the performative”.

In many of her works Nkanga reflects metonymically on the use and cultural value of natural resources, exploring how meaning and function are relative within cultures and revealing different roles and histories for the same products, particularly within the context of the artist’s autobiography and memories.

Nkanga Otobong
Otobong Nkanga
Kano, 1974

Past Exhibitions

Homeless Souls

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark 27/06/2019 — 22/09/2019

Open at Night – Festival of Lights

Villa Medici 16/12/2017 — 28/01/2018

Take Me (I’m Yours) at Pirelli HangarBicocca

Pirelli HangarBicocca
07/11/2017 — 21/01/2018

Take Me I’m Yours

Monnaie de Paris
16/09/2015 — 08/11/2015

Solo Shows

Across the Board: Politics of Representation, performance and installation piece “Contained Measures of Shifting States”, Tate Modern, The Tanks, London, United Kingdom.
However Long the Night, The Dawn Will Break, Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Contained Measures of Tangible Memories: Indigo Regina, L’appartement 22, Rabat, Morocco.

The Western Syndrome, (with Pirkle Jones), La Bank Gallery, Paris, France.

No Be Today Story O! Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
L’edition Populaire #1, Vitrine Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium.

Pointe Noire Fragments, Centre Culturel Français, Pointe-Noire, Congo.
Diagonal Views, Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, The Netherlands.

Smokescreen, Fokus 2, (with Jens Haaning)Kunstverein Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen, Germany.
On Fragile Grounds, Window Gallery and Objectif_exhibitions as part of “CLOSE READING #3”, Antwerp, Belgium. 2002 Classicism & Beyond, Fotofest 2002, Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas, USA.

Group Shows

Animism, Ashkal Alwan/Home Workspace, Beirut, Lebanon.
Foreign Exchange/Ware & Wissen (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

Prologue – Part two: La Mia Scuola di Architettura, Bolzano, Italy.
Play! Recapturing the Radical Imagination, Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Göteborg, Sweden.
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC, USA.
Sharjah Biennial 11, Re: Emerge Towards a New Cultural Cartography, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Art Dubai 2013, Dubai, UAE.
Ja Natuurlijk, Gemeente Museum, Den Haag, The Netherlands.

Shuffling Cards – Mouvement Aléatoire des Cartes, Galerie des Grands Bains Douches de la Plaine, Marseille, France.
50 Days at Sea, Antwerp Pavilion, Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
Inventing World: The Artist as Citizen, Biennale Benin, Cotonou, Benin.
Amsterdam Drawing, An Art Fair for Original Works on Paper, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
De Nederlandse Identiteit? Half Suiker, Half Zand, De recente geschiedenis door de ogen van mister Motley, Museum De Paviljoens, The Netherlands.
Manifest Aanwezig (Manifestly Present), Parallel Events Manifesta 9: The European Biennale of Contemporary Art in Genk. Kasteel d’AspremontLynden, Old Rekem, Belgium.
Tropicomania: The Social Life of Plantes, Betonsalon, Center of art and research. Associated venue of La Triennale 2012 – Intense Proximity. Paris, France.
Art Rotterdam, with Lumen Travo Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Object Atlas – Fieldwork in the Museum, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

Don’t/Panic, Durban Art Gallery, Durban, South Africa.
Connect, Group exhibition Rijksakademie Alumni, with Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The Altered Landscape, Photographs of a Changing Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada, USA.
MärklinWorld, Kunsthalle KAdE, Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
The Collectors Show, part of Vanuit Hier – Out of Here, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
L’inattendu du Tout Monde, Un Hommage a Goddy Leye, L’appartement 22, Rabat, invited by Art-O-Rama, Marseille, France
All We Ever Wanted, Center of Contemporary Arts, Lagos, Nigeria.
Summer Show, Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Outre Mesures et Programmes Radio (Maps, Timelines, Radio Programmes), La Galerie Contemporary Art Center, Noisy-le-Sec, France.
Faites Commes Chez Vous, Raw Material Company, A center for art, knowledge and society. Dakar, Senegal.
ARS 11, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland.
Africa, Objects and Subjects, Centro de Expositiones Fernan Gomez, Madrid, Spain.

Sentences on the Banks and Other Activities, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan.
World Festival of Black Arts and Culture, Dakar, Senegal.
Body Language, Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The Production of Space, The Studio Museum Harlem, New York, USA.
Unfixed, CBK (Center for Contemporary Arts Dordrecht), Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
FIAC, with Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, Grand Palais and Louvre, Paris, France
There Is Always A Cup Of Sea To Sail In, 29th Biennial of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Make Yourself at Home, Kunsthal Charlottenbourg, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Africa, Objects and Subjects, Palacio Revillagigedo, Gijon, Spain.
A Proposal For Articulating Works and Places (Part 2), Riso Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia, Palermo, Italy.
Whose Map Is It? INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts), Rivington Place, London, United Kingdom.
Common Ground, Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Amsterdam Art Fair, with Lumen Travo Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Animism, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Une Aiguille dans une Botte de Foin, Printemps des Poètes, Museé du Quai Branly, Paris, France.
Animism, Extra City Kunsthal and M HKA Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen, Belgium.

A Delicate Touch, Watercolors from the Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum Harlem, New York, USA.
AIM International Biennale 3rd Edition, Marrakech, Morocco.
Autres Mesures, Centre Photographique Ile de France, Pontault-Combault, France.
Art Brussels, 27th Contemporary Art Fair, Nomad Moba Gallery, Brussels, Belgium.
This is Now 2, L’Appartement 22, Rabat, Morocco.

Re/Presentaciones: Ellas, Casa Africa, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Island, Spain.
This is Now 1, L’appartement22, Rabat, invited to the 1st Johannesburg Art Fair, South Africa.
Delight, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Flow, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA.
Snap Judgments, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Snap Judgments, Brooks Museum of Arts, Memphis, USA.

2007 Africa Remix, Contemporary Art of a Continent, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Simmels Gelijk, Over het IJ Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Allan Kaprow, Kunst Als Leben, Kunsthalle Bern,

Snap Judgments, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
Snap Judgments, Tamayo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico.

1st Architecture, Art & Landscape Biennial of the Canaries, Canary Islands, Spain.
Snap Judgments, Miami Art Central, Miami, USA.
De Grote Oversteek, Stedelijk Museum, Zwolle, The Netherlands.
Shared History/Decolonising the Image, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Generique, Galerie 14, Paris, France.
There & Back, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain.
One Game – Many Worlds, Football in inter-cultural comparison, Münchner Stadtmuseum. Munich, Germany.
Snap Judgments, International Center of Photography, New York, USA.
Africa Remix, Zeitgenössische Kunst eines Kontinents, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

Belonging, Sharjah International Biennial 7, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
North /South Lab, Tanzquartier, Vienna, Austria.
Africa Remix, Zeitgenössische Kunst eines Kontinents, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Africa Remix, Zeitgenössische Kunst eines Kontinents, Hayward Gallery, London.

Flying Circus Project, TheatreWorks Ltd, Singapore.
Do You Believe in Reality?, Taipei Biennial, Taiwan.
Free Territory, 26th Sao Paulo biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Flash Right, Turn Left, Artwalk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Africa Remix, Zeitgenössische Kunst eines Kontinents Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany.
Women Artist, No 4, Peter Hermann Gallery, Berlin, Germany.
Epifyten, De Klassieke Hortus als Voedingsbodem voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

El Arte Con La Vida, VIII Biennale de la Habana, Havana, Cuba.
MIP, International Performance Manifestation, CEIA, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Transferts, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.
Shift and Wait, Collaborative work with Le Petit Jaunais Edition House. Maison de la Loire, Paris, France.

Awaiting Pleasures, Open Ateliers, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Classicism & Beyond, Fotofest 2002, Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas, USA.
Observatorio # 3, Casa Camouflage, Brussels, Belgium.
Dak’Art 2002, 5th Biennale of African Contemporary Art, Dakar, Senegal.
Rond Point, La Halle de Gombe, Kinshasa, RDCongo.
Observatorio # 1, Casa Camouflage, Brussels, Belgium.
Made In Africa Fotografia, Biennale di Fotografia Africana/ Sparzio Oberdan, Milan, Italy.
En Direct De Bamako, Galerie Photo Fnac Etoile, Paris, France.
Dessins XXL, Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France.


Memoires Intimes D’un Nouveau Millenaire, IV Biennale de la Photographie Africaine, Bamako, Mali.
Infamous Labels No 10, Bateau Phare collaborating with The Research program, ENSBA, Paris, France.

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Kano Country of birth: Nigeria Date of birth: 1974 Lives in: Antwerp, Belgium
W: Otobong Nkanga M: onkanga@hotmail.com