Born in Nigeria, Otobong Nkanga owes her love of land and nature to her childhood mostly spent in Africa. Wherever she goes, Nkanga invites her contemporaries to follow her in gloriously unconstrained peregrinations, trudging through organic matter, or exploring core samples of the earth’s crust revealing centuries-old rock formations. She always comes back to roots, to an archaeology of time that she feels calling out to her, which she approaches equally as an active observer, explorer of possibilities, and poet.
For her Louis Vuitton Travel Book, the artist unveils a subtle, offbeat and rare perspective on Shanghai. Today known as China’s very own City of Lights, it is a sprawling metropolis of dreams, fully embracing its modernity and madly pursuing its phenomenal development. From the Waterhouse at South Bund, the boutique riverside hotel on the banks of the Huangpu, facing the Pudong skyline and the impressive Shanghai Tower, Nkanga studies the geography of the area and hones in on the city’s geometry, with its rectilinear grid of long avenues and streets.
“Drawing helps me clarify my ideas, emotions or thoughts I use it to organize things in space, to bring together different worlds, and to invent a reality that may come to light as a gouache, a sculpture, or an installation.” – Otobong Nkanga
The Louis Vuitton Travel Book series sends renowned artists and promising young talents from around the world to destinations previously unknown to them. Through whatever form of expression they choose, and whether exploring remote wildernesses or cities that never sleep, each artist confronts an unfamiliar place sharpened by the surprise of the unknown or stimulated by the pleasure of rediscovery.