Graduate Symposium: Otobong Nkanga

2025 Nasher Prize Dialogues

Graduate students from around the world present scholarly work on a host of questions and topics related to 2025 Nasher Prize Laureate Otobong Nkanga. Moderated by Trey Burns: artist and writer, co-founder of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, and Professor of Art at University of North Texas, the virutal symposium culminated in a roundtable discussion and a special presentation. 

The 2025 Nasher Prize Graduate Symposium took place virtually from February 27–March 1, 2024.. A weeklong virtual event, the symposium is one of the key ways that the Nasher Sculpture Center encourages the creation of new research on the practice of contemporary sculpture. Graduate student participants receive feedback from fellow presenters, the moderator, the keynote speaker, and audience members. Students selected to present papers will also have their work published in the annual symposium compendium, together with the paper delivered by the keynote speaker. 

Watch Day One

  • Alirageh J. Barreh: University of Texas at Dallas
    “An African Philosophy of Hospitality: Levinasian Perspectives on Otobong Nkanga's "‘Contained Measures of a Kolanut’”

Watch Day Two

  • Veronica Kamei: Jawaharlal National University, New Delhi, India
    “No Man’s Land: Otobong Nkanga and the Politics of Neocolonial Ecology”

  • Margaret Nagawa: Emory University
    “Otobong Nkanga’s Sensuous Reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Baggage”

Watch Day Three

  • Alfonse Chiu: Yale University
    “Soil Sister: On an Intimate Archive of the Landscape”

  • Bram Groenteman: University of Amsterdam
    “Woven Narratives: Otobong Nkanga’s meaning-making through craft”

Watch the Roundtable

  • Trey Burns: artist and writer, co-founder of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, and Professor of Art at University of North Texas. 
  • Roundtable Discussion
  • Special Presentation

About Nasher Prize

The Nasher Prize is awarded annually to an artist whose body of work has had an extraordinary impact on our understanding of sculpture. Each year’s Nasher Prize laureate is selected by an international jury of esteemed museum directors, curators, scholars, and artists. A full season of diverse programming inspired by the laureate – discussions and lectures, family and student programs, community partnerships, and more – engage thousands of art-lovers in Dallas and far beyond, both in-person and virtually. Then, the celebration culminates with the Nasher Prize Award Gala, held at the Nasher Sculpture Center each April.


About Otobong Nkanga 

Born in 1974 in Kano, Nigeria, Otobong Nkanga lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville (2023); Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges (2022); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2021); Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin (2021); Villa Arson, Nice (2021); Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Sandvika (2020);? Gropius Bau, Berlin (2020); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2020); Tate St Ives (2019); Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2019); Ar/ge kunst Galleria Museo, Bolzano (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018); Kunsthal Aarhus (2017); Nottingham Contemporary (2016); Beirut Art Center (2016); Tate Modern, London (2015); Museum Folkwang, Essen (2015); Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2015); Portikus, Frankfurt (2015), Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (2015); Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2015). Her work has been prominently featured in international biennials, including the 58th Venice Biennale (2019);?documenta 14 (2017); and the 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015). 

Nkanga was the recipient of the inaugural Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme (2019); the Special Mention Award at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2019); the Belgium Art Prize (2017); and the Yanghyun Prize (2015). Her works are held in institutional collections including Foundation Beyeler, Basel; Museum Brugge, Bruges; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterloo; Art Gallery of Ontario; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Museum Arnhem; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Queensland Art Gallery; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Mu.ZEE Oostende; Centre National de Arts Plastiques, Paris; and Museum Folkwang, Essen. 

About Moderator Trey Burns

Trey Burns is an artist, writer, and educator currently working in the New Media department at the University of North Texas. Since 2018, he has been co-director of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, a non-profit arts organization that provides space and support for experimental and large-scale outdoor works by emerging voices. In 2023, Sweet Pass received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the alternative education and exhibition program Sculpture School, which invites artists to look more deeply at place. Burns has shown his work both domestically and internationally, including Pavillion Vendôme (Clichy-la-Garenne, France), Ecole Nationale d’Architecture Paris, Malaquais Gallery (Paris, France), Wassaic Projects (Wassaic, NY), Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX), Wells College (Aurora, NY), et al Projects (Brooklyn, NY), and upcoming at the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX). His writing has recently been published in Southwest Contemporary, the Holt/Smithson Foundation, Nasher Magazine, and Burnaway.

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