Profile Artist, 18 July 2018

Otobong Nkanga
The Ethics of Cooperation

Investigation by Éric Mangion
Summary

Looking at the ensemble of what’s called post-colonial art, art articulated around the effects of colonialism, and more broadly the construction and deconstruction of individuals and the domination and power networks they are caught up in, it’s very hard to find meaningful work that doesn’t slip into stereotypical considerations. Recent years have seen a whole swath of work foregrounding a combination of modernist aesthetics and all sorts of exotic variations, meant to demonstrate the thesis that a hybrid art has been produced by the conflictual and yet common history of the West and its former colonies. While Nkanga’s work has broken free of this reductionist logic, nevertheless it is the fruit of her efforts to found new paradigms for thinking and making art that are not centered on concerns unique to “white” people.