Otobong Nkanga Wins Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award

Otobong Nkanga Wins Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award

The Henie Onstad Art Center in Norway, has recently announced Otobong Nkanga as the first winner of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme.

Director at Henie Onstad Art Center, Tone Hansen made the announcement during a reception at The Conduit in London.

Otobong Nkanga is an artist with great integrity. As the first winner of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Prize, she is a fantastic choice. This is a prize that celebrates the work of outstanding international artists who, through their work, can create great engagement among the audience and lift the dialogue about the importance and relevance of contemporary art”

The winner of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme was unanimously selected by an international jury including María Inés Rodríguez, Editor, Tropical Papers and Curator At Large at MASP, São Paulo; Michelle Kuo , The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, New York; Elvira Dyangani Ose , Director, Showroom, London; Paulina Rider Wilhelmsen , Founder, Wilstar Social Impact, Oslo; Caroline Ugelstad , Chief Curator, Henie Onstad Art Center, Oslo; and Tone Hansen , Director, Henie Onstad Art Center.

The Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme was created in collaboration between the Lise family and Arne Wilhelmsen and Henie Onstad Art Center. The programme was created to continue and honour Lise Wilhelmsen’s (1936–2019) dedication to visual art. The family has committed to a collaboration with Henie Onstad Art Center for the next 16 editions of the award, over a 32-year run and with the ambition of further extensions.

The award is an art prize of $100,000 to an outstanding international artist who, with his/her work, can inspire and motivate future generations for active participation and social responsibility. In addition to the prize itself, the programme includes the purchase of works for Henie Onstad’s art collection and an exhibition at Høvikodden, the following year. The programme marks a milestone in a major artist’s career, while at the same time the financial commitment places the award among the world’s most significant art awards.

“It is an honuor to be the first recipient of the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award and to have the opportunity to create an exhibition at Henie Onstad Art Center in 2020. The award will allow me to develop new ideas and pursue dreams while giving me more space to reflect on topics that inspire me” Otobong Nkanga said when she received the award.

Born in 1974, in Kano, Nigeria, Otobong Nkang is considered one of the most interesting artists today. She works in a variety of disciplines including textiles, drawing, photography, installation, painting and performance. By linking bodies, countries and natural resources together, she creates space to reflect on the consequences and processes created through our actions. At the same time, she explores how we utilize nature’s raw materials from ethical, interpersonal and material perspectives. With her cross-artistic and conceptual approach, she is close to Henie Onstad’s historical focus.

Otobong Nkanga’s exhibition at the Henie Onstad Art Center will open in the fall of 2020, as part of the programme’s two-year run for the artist.




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