Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh, Aging Ruins Dreaming Only to Recall the Hard Chisel from the Past, 2019.

Artists Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh Awarded Sharjah Biennial Prize

The Sharjah Art Foundation has announced that artists Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh have won the Sharjah Biennial Prize for their work Aging Ruins Dreaming Only to Recall the Hard Chisel from the Past, 2019. The collaborative project, a series of multimedia interventions in the heritage house Bait Al Aboudi and the surrounding grounds in Al Mureijah Square, was inspired by a dead tree in the courtyard.

The artists imagine that the tree’s cause of death was from her addiction to salt water. They created several circular craters filled with seawater and surrounded by sand mounds to which they have added salt to ensure that traces of saline will remain as the water evaporates over time. In close proximity to the craters, a number of speakers play a range of natural sounds, a recording of an Emirati “rain song” performed by children in Sharjah, and texts that are supposed to be written from the perspectives of the water, Earth, and the trees performed by Nkanga. The installation also includes light boxes rendered in the tonal shades of a sunset.

A jury made up of critic and curator Octavio Zaya, scholar and theorist Homi Bhabha, and curator Solange Farkas selected the winners. Artists Mohamed Bourouissa, Shezad Dawood, Phan Thảo Nguyên, and Qiu Zhijie received honorable mentions.

The work will remain on view as part of the Sharjah Biennial’s fourteenth edition, curated by Zoe Butt, Omer Kholeif, and Claire Tancons, which is on view until June 10, 2019.