Otobong Nkanga

...She know who she be...


Also known as "Oto" -

Otobong Nkanga (Born in Kano, Nigeria) performer and Visual Artist

Otobong Nkanga works in a broad spectrum of media, including performance, installations, photography, drawing and sculpture. According to Nkanga, the various media she employs “interrogate our mental and physical identities in varied environments and contexts.” Thus taking inspiration from her surroundings, especially architecture, the artist creates work that can be placed in varied environments and are often fragments of a multimedia work in progress.

Nkanga began her art studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and later continued in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and has finished her Masters Program at Dasarts, Amsterdam.

Nkanga’s photographic self-portrait Fattening Room (1999) is informed by such factors as earthen architecture, the works of Diego Velasquez, and the eastern Nigerian tradition of placing a bride-to-be in a literal fattening room (mbopo) prior to her marriage. Nkanga’s work aims to evoke memories by putting processes into motion: “The tension, speed and energy of each space we penetrate or confront make us react; sometimes we are unconscious of these reactions…It is in this evolving tension that my work takes form.”