Nigerian-Belgian artistOtobong Nkangahas won the 2025 iteration of the Nasher Prize. The award, considered to be the world’s most prestigious sculpture honor, has since 2015 been presented annually by the Nasher Sculpture Center to a living artist whose work pushes the boundaries of the form. Nkanga will receive $100,000 from the Dallas institution, and a solo exhibition of her work, accompanied by a monograph, will open at the Nasher in April 2025. “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,” said Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick in a statement.
“Delving deeply into the variegated meanings these materials take on, Nkanga’s work makes clear the essential place of sculpture in contemporary life.”RelatedHELEN FRANKENTHALER FOUNDATION SUED FOR “DESTROYING” PAINTER’S LEGACYBMA CREATES PAID INTERNSHIPS HONORING VALERIE MAYNARD “I wasn’t expecting this, but I am extremely honored,” Nkanga told theNew York Times. The artist, who lives in Antwerp, is known for her experimental work investigating themes of neocolonialism and environmental protection, and frequently centering the global extraction of natural resources. Describing her 2015 workSolid Maneuvers, a group of sculptures inspired by Nkanga’s trip to an abandoned copper mine in Namibia, Kate Sutton in the pages ofArtforumnoted, “The artist anoints them with piles of pink mineral salts, sand, tar, or mica-based cosmetic powder, as if trying to piece the extracted earth back together again. In other places, she allows these materials to artfully spill into the shimmering sand below, further confusing what is precious with what is waste.” Her wide-ranging practice embraces not only sculpture but drawing, installation, photography, and performance.
Nkanga has participated in the 2017 editions of Documenta and Manifesta, the 2019 iterations of the Sharjah Biennale and the Venice Biennale, and the 2022 Busan Biennale; in 2019, she was named theinaugural winnerof the $100,000 Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award, presented by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Sandvika, Norway. Her work ison viewthrough January 7, 2024, at Valencia, Spain’s IVAM Centre Julio González. In delivering the news of Nkanga’s win, the Nasher announced that it would henceforth present the prize every two years, moving away from the annual schedule to which it has thus far hewn. By lengthening the span between prizes, the institution hopes “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 press release..