Dallas' Nasher Sculpture Center selects sculptor for prestigious award
The Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas' museum dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture, has named the recipient of the 2025 Nasher Prize, an international award for sculpture established to honor a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities.
The award will go to Otobong Nkanga, a 49-year-old artist born in Nigeria and now based in Belgium whose works speak to the complex, often fragile relationships between humans, the land, and its resources, touching on issues of consumption, global circulation, connectivity, and care.
The artist, who will receive $100,000 in recognition of outstanding contributions to sculpture, will be presented with her award in Dallas on April 5, 2025, alongside an exhibition and a published monograph.
Nkanga will be the first Nasher Prize Laureate recognized with a new biennial format; the prize had previously been given out annually since its debut in 2016. This means that no award is being officially made for 2024. The change was made to give the museum and the laureate more time to show works at the Nasher, produce a printed monograph, and better communicate their importance in the field of sculpture.
Nkanga works with a broad range of materials and an equally broad range of practices, and is best known for powerful installations and performances that ignite the senses, eliciting emotions and new perspectives.
“The work of Otobong Nkanga makes manifest the myriad connections - historical, sociological, economic, cultural, and spiritual - that we have to the materials that comprise our lives,” says Nasher director Jeremy Strick in a statement. “Delving deeply into the variegated meanings these materials take on, Nkanga’s work makes clear the essential place of sculpture in contemporary life.”
Much of Nkanga’s work focuses upon the land and the substances and people associated with it. She incorporates resources such as minerals, spices, nuts, metals, oils, plants, and stones into her sculptural or performative materials to create artistic encounters that encourage viewers to engage, respond, and consider their relationships to the planet, to art, and to one another.
Nkanga is the eighth artist to receive the Nasher Prize; previous winners include Senga Nengudi (2023), Nairy Baghramian (2022), Michael Rakowitz (2020-21), Isa Genzken (2019), Theaster Gates (2018), Pierre Huyghe (2017), and Doris Salcedo (2016).
Nasher Sculpture Center will present a series of public programs in conjunction with the Nasher Prize exploring the climate of contemporary sculpture. Called Nasher Prize Dialogues, the talks gather interdisciplinary luminaries to discuss the most compelling topics regarding contemporary sculpture.