The Nasher Sculpture Center is a contemporary art museum in Dallas, Texas, dedicated to the presentation, study and conservation of modern and contemporary sculpture. The museum houses an impressive collection of internationally renowned sculptures, as well as temporary exhibitions featuring artists from around the world.
Each year, the contemporary art center offers the Nasher Prize, a prestigious award given to honor the outstanding achievements of a contemporary sculptor. This year’s winner is none other than Otobong Nkanga. As winner of the Nasher Prize 2025 , she receives a $100,000 donation and a solo exhibition at the museum, scheduled for April 2025. She was selected by an international jury of art professionals and leading figures from the sculptural art world.
Otobong Nkanga was selected on the basis of a number of criteria, including his previous achievements, the impact of his art in the field of sculpture and his contribution to contemporary art. Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, comments: “Otobong Nkanga‘s work makes manifest the myriad connections – historical, sociological, economic, cultural and spiritual – we have with the materials that make up our lives. By delving into the varied meanings these materials take on, Nkanga’s work highlights the essential place of sculpture in contemporary life.”
Drawing on a diverse range of materials, used to reconcile an equally broad spectrum of artistic practices, Nasher Prize 2025 -winner Otobong Nkanga creates powerful works that draw the viewer into the complex and often delicate relationships between humans, the earth and its resources, subtly addressing notions of consumption, global circulation, connectivity and care.
Looking back over the last twenty years of the contemporary artist’s practice, we discover evocative works that deal with migration and its own movement around the world, the exhaustive use of planetary resources and the interconnectedness of people and the earth. In a mysterious approach, Otobong Nkanga relies on precise studies of the places inhabited by her art and uses raw materials such as minerals, metals, stones and plants to foment new interpretations, stored memories and emotional connections for her audience.
Art historian Briony Fer, one of the leading figures on the Nasher Prize 2025 selection committee, says of her: “Otobong Nkanga maps pressing global issues, but does so in a subtle, enigmatic and profound way. She works with materials that draw on many different aspects of the world’s resources, and the complex histories of these materials are embedded in her work. The intense and productive way in which she presents formal and material issues is what currently characterizes her immense contribution to sculpture.”
The contemporary artist was also the first recipient of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award program, a prize that carries a $100,000 award as well as an exhibition opening in 2020. Otobong Nkanga’s work has been exhibited at numerous international biennales, such as Documenta 14 in 2017, the Busan Biennale in 2022, the Sharjah Biennale in 2019, Manifesta 2017 and the Venice Biennale in 2019, where she received a special mention for her participation in the main exhibition. Currently, her solo exhibition is captivating audiences at the IVAM Centre Julio González in Valencia, Spain. Recent solo shows have also been held at Castello di Rivoli in Turin (2021-2022), Gropius Bau in Berlin (2020), Tate St Ives (2019), the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town (2019) and Tate Modern in London (2015), not to mention his involvement in the United States with a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2018 and his participation in group shows such as “Witch Hunt” at the Hammer Museum in 2021 and “Black Melancholia” at the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College in 2022.
This prestigious award testifies to the artistic community’s recognition of Otobong Nkanga and underlines his importance in the field of contemporary sculpture. Her talent and commitment make her an artist to watch closely, whose work will continue to inspire and provoke thought for years to come.