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Otobong Nkanga: visiting researching artist

From 28 September until 1 October 2021, the internationally renowned artist Otobong Nkanga (born in Kano, Nigeria, living and working in Antwerp) is invited by Expanding Academy to the Academy as this year’s 'visiting researching artist'.

On Tuesday 28 September, Otobong Nkanga will share her artistic practice in a public lecture (Guess who's coming to dinner) and will talk about her project ‘Carved to Flow’ and the ‘Soil Classroom’, which she will install at the Academy in September-October 2021 as her contribution to EXPANDING ACADEMY, a new program/project of research and education in the arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp.

In the following days, Nkanga will visit the studios of the master students and will discuss with other researchers meta themes such as higher art education or research in the arts.

More on Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga’s drawings, installations, photographs, sculptures and performances examine the social and topographical relationship with our everyday environment. By exploring the notion of land as a place of non-belonging, Nkanga provides an alternative meaning to the social ideas of identity. Paradoxically, she brings to light the memories and historical impacts provoked by humans and nature. She lays out the inherent complexities of resources like soil and earth and their potential values in order to provoke narratives and stories connected to land.

Employing sculpture, drawing and performance, but also writing, publishing and pedagogical formats, Nkanga looks at the notion of ‘land’ as a geological and discursive formation, often taking as her starting point the systems and procedures by which raw materials are locally dug up, technologically processed and globally circulated. From there she follows the threads that intertwine ores, material culture and the construction of desire with the redistribution of power and knowledge.

Nkanga raises questions about the historical structure of a place, both physically and metaphysically. She often refers to the different objects and elements in her work as constellations. Constellations are imaginary patterns or diagrams which allow her to chart the intersections of nature, politics, colonialist economies and different geographies and histories.