This publication celebrates the Antwerp-based, Nigerian-born artist Otobong Nkanga, who explores cultural and historical conflicts as well as the exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources.
In capturing the fraught relationships between people and their environments, Otobong Nkanga illuminates the social, political, and economic histories—and legacies—of colonialism. This beautifully illustrated book, which focuses on the artist’s drawings, is published in conjunction with Nkanga’s first US survey and showcases the artist’s compelling and thought-provoking oeuvre. An essay by exhibition curator Omar Kholeif reveals the rich background of Nkanga’s varied subjects, including the historic realities of Nigeria, memories of her childhood, and the creation of covert global economies that emerge from the trade of natural resources. In a narrative piece, the acclaimed author, photographer, and critic Teju Cole offers a poignant counterpart to Nkanga’s work as he reflects on his experiences growing up in Nigeria. Interspersed throughout the monograph are newly written poems by the artist.
OMAR KHOLEIF is Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.