Otobong Nkanga Awarded $100,000 Nasher Prize for Sculpture

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

The institution also announced that it would now award the prize, which goes to “a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities,” every two years instead of annually. This change was meant “to give the museum and the laureate more time to show works at the Nasher, produce a printed monograph, and better communicate their importance in the field of sculpture,” according to a release.

Working across various mediums and drawing on deep research she has conducted, Nkanga is best-known for large-scale installations and performances that look at humans’ relationships to the earth’s resources and how, through systems of capital and consumption, these ties are fragile, tenuous, and extractive.

In a statement, Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick said, “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. Delving deeply into the variegated meanings these materials take on, Nkanga’s work makes clear the essential place of sculpture in contemporary life.”

Her work has been featured in numerous international biennials, including the Documenta 14 in 2017, the 2022 Busan Biennial, the 2019 Sharjah Biennial, Manifesta 2017, and the 2019 Venice Biennale, for which she received a special mention for her participation in the main exhibition. Her work is currently the subject of a solo show at the IVAM Centre Julio González in Valencia, Spain. Other recent solo outings have been staged at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin (2021–22), the Gropius Bau in Berlin (2020), Tate St Ives (2019), the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town (2019), and Tate Modern in London (2015)

In the US, she had a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2018, and has been featured in two group shows, “Witch Hunt” at the Hammer Museum in 2021 and “Black Melancholia” at Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College in 2022.