Press Release

The exhibition Craving for Southern Light by Otobong Nkanga (Kano, Nigeria, 1974) brings together a significant selection of her work from the last two decades and includes drawings, textiles, poems, sculptures, objects and performances, as well as a special installation for IVAM.



International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2023

Otobong Nkanga, Craving for Southern Light

IVAM, Valencia(Spain)

13.07.2023 - 07.01.2024




The exhibition includes several series of drawings and a large tapestry that define a poetic and political iconography which have always accompanied the artist, showcasing her strength of evoking fiction through images which elicit memories of bodies, spaces and interconnected movements. Her figures put the action centre stage, evoke memories which speak of work, belonging and property: domestic and family scenes, but also conflicts. Diagrammatic drawings have been arranged in a series and incorporate her colour palette, acting as an origin for new scenes.

The museum is also home to a new work site-specific; the result of trips, research and the relationships that the artist has established in the city and in the museum. An unsettled landscape, dark, an emotional space between darkness and light, made up of precarious, fragile shapes. The clay which has been shaped into abstract forms reminiscent of natural worlds evokes the fragility of ecological, economic and political realities. Opposite this landscape, different sculptures relate to the regeneration and repairing of the various ecosystems: recipients which harbour life or carpets that allow us to reflect on the comfort of the protective natural fibres which simultaneously transmit energy. A series of ropes snaking around the space, passing through large balls or hanging from the ceiling, sending us on intersecting narratives or stories that go places.

In this setting we find a circular economy project with transformative production structures such as Carved to Flow (2017), a three-phase project first presented in Athens, during the documenta 14, as a laboratory to manufacture soap, then in Kassel where soup was sold and distributed. And the current phase with the proceeds funding an art space in Athens as well as The Carved To Flow Foundation, a non-profit in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, in Nigeria. The installation also includes  a series of tapestries, a volcanic-rock floor and the installation Solid Maneuvers (2015), which is a poetized translation of an inverted hill, an excavated topography containing minerals and salt. The sculpture references the abandoned excavation, which leaves the landscape, and our relationship with it, wounded.

The IVAM exhibition is accompanied by a detailed catalogue offering a comprehensive overview of her remarkable performances works. It includes essays by the curator, Nuria Enguita, texts by Pelin Tan and Clémentine Deliss, and also detailed insights into the pieces on display. This will be the first major publication on her work in Spanish.

Exhibition 13 July 2023 - 07 January 2024. Institut Valenciàd’rt Modern (IVAM),C/ de Guillem de Castro, 118 - 46003 València (Spain). T. +34 963176600. Hours : Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Friday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. Closed on Mondays






Otobong Nkanga, Craving for Southern Light, IVAM, Valencia, Spain

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved

Otobong Nkanga, Solid Maneuvers, 2023. Performance, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern