Otobong Nkanga (b. 1974, lives and works in Antwerp and Paris)
Otobong Nkanga is both a visual artist and performer, working in installation, photography, drawing, and sculpture. In her work, humans and alternately imposing and claustrophobic environments seem fragile; yet, for all of the fear or foreboding, there remain notes of hope. Nkanga’s work often addresses political realities and considers changing economies, mobility, and displacement, especially in her home country of Nigeria. Her work has been included in exhibitions such as "Flow" at the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), the 7th Sharjah Biennial, "This is Now" at L’appartement 22 (Rabat), and the 4ème Rencontres de la photographie africaine de Bamako.
Otobong Nkanga’s project, "Contained Measures of Tangible Memories," is a work in progress that has been conceived and elaborated in varied forms. The work, which is moved throughout the exhibition space, examines five natural elements (mica, black soap, cassia fistula, indigo dye, and alum) purchased in Morocco, and used in alternate ways in Nkanga’s Nigerian hometown. The project explores how meaning and function are relative within cultures, revealing different roles and histories for the same products, particularly within the context of the artist’s autobiography and memories.