Olu Oguibe Receives the 2017 Arnold Bode Prize
Nigerian-born artist, cultural scientist and curator Olu Oguibe has just been awarded the 2017 Arnold-Bode-Prize, endowed with 10,000 euros. The prize was presented in memory of Documenta founder Arnold Bode.
With his obelisk in the King’s Square, Oguibe is concerned with the human tragedy of the Nigerian Civil War. “I was a stranger, and you have accommodated me” is written in gold on one side as a quotation from the Gospel of Matthew. The other three sides of the obelisk have the same saying in Arabic, Turkish and English. According to Mayor Bertram Hilgen (SPD), the obelisk is “a work that takes up one of the burning themes of the present day and creates a relationship with the history of the history”.
Oguibe’s work for the Documenta 14 in Kassel refers to the humanitarian aid the victims received. It is dedicated to the 60 million people who are on the run.
With the Biblical quotation, the artist at the time of the establishment provoked pious evangelicals in the United States, who vehemently oppose the reception of refugees. Oguibe has mentioned he is not a Christian, even though his father is a preacher.
Oguibe’s works have been displayed in New York, London and Zurich. In 2007, he attended the Venice Biennale – the year in which Africa was represented for the first time with a pavilion. Oguibe has been dealing with a wide range of topics on social and formal issues for nearly four decades of experience as a concept artist and thinker. He has also created permanent installations in Germany, Japan and Korea, and his works have been incorporated into several collections. Oguibe has participated in significant exhibitions including the Tate 2013. Of noteworthy achievements is the award from the governor of Connecticut. He lives and works in the small town of Rockville, Connecticut.
The Documenta 14 in Kassel runs until September 17. The obelisk can also be viewed as an external artwork.
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