Antwerp-based artist Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian, b. 1974) is fascinated by what she calls “shine.” For the artist, shine refers to not only the glimmering surface qualities of natural resources like rare minerals but also the desire to be seduced by exotic consumer objects. This connection between the intense mining of the world’s natural resources and late capitalism is a central concern in much of her work.
Nkanga’s performance, sculpture, drawing, painting, textiles, photography, and installation works explore the relationship of movement and memory to postcolonial histories. In works on paper and textiles, the artist creates landscapes and figures with clean, hard-edged lines that address the social and ecological impacts of Nigeria’s oil business. Her works also refer to West African cultural artifacts and resources, which Nkanga locates within the context of Nigeria’s economy, raising questions about their cultural value and use.
Otobong Nkanga is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website