Otobong Nkanga wins $100k Nasher Prize for sculpture
Otobong Nkanga, the acclaimed Nigeria-born artist based in Belgium, has been named the eighth laureate of the prestigious Nasher Prize. The Nasher Sculpture Center, based in Dallas, Texas, according to The Art Newspaper, bestows this honour, accompanied by a substantial $100,000 cash prize, to celebrate outstanding contributions to the world of sculpture. Nkanga is renowned for her diverse artistic expressions, encompassing tapestries, sculptural installations, and performances, which offer a profound exploration of power dynamics within and across landscapes.
One of the key aspects of Nkanga’s work, as noted by Nasher Prize juror Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, is her unique approach to sculpture, which delves into the anthropology of materials. Her art incorporates a wide range of mediums, including textiles, glass, found objects, as well as earth, plants, stones, minerals, and water. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, Nkanga’s creations often shed light on the exploitation and extraction of these materials, simultaneously proposing solutions to contemporary ecological challenges.
Nkanga’s impact on the art world is undeniable, with major solo exhibitions at renowned institutions such as the Castello di Rivoli, Tate St Ives, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Beirut Art Center. She has also been a prominent presence in international biennials, including the Venice Biennale, the Sharjah Biennial, Documenta, and Manifesta.
In a significant development, the Nasher Sculpture Center announced changes to the Nasher Prize program alongside Nkanga’s selection. Going forward, the prize will be awarded biennially, providing more comprehensive programming opportunities for each laureate. Additionally, the recipient will not only receive the $100,000 cash prize but also the opportunity for a solo exhibition at the Nasher, accompanied by a full monographic publication.
This change aligns with past Nasher Prize laureates who have consistently pushed the boundaries of sculpture, reflecting the evolving landscape of contemporary art. Notable past laureates include Senga Nengudi, Nairy Baghramian, Michael Rakowitz, Isa Genzken, Theaster Gates, Pierre Huyghe, and Doris Salcedo.
The 2025 Nasher Prize ceremony, where Otobong Nkanga will officially receive the honour, is scheduled to take place on April 5, 2025, at the Nasher Sculpture Center—a momentous occasion celebrating the innovative spirit and impact of this remarkable artist on the world of sculpture.