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Olu Oguibe Wins Documenta’s Arnold Bode Prize

Olu Oguibe, the Nigerian-born American-based artist, cultural scientist, and curator, has been named the winner of Documenta 14’s Arnold Bode Prize, awarded by the city of Kassel.

Oguibe’s works are featured in both of the exhibition’s host cities, Athens and Kassel. For Kassel, the artist erected a fifty-two-foot-and-a-half-tall obelisk inscribed with the words, “I was a stranger and you took me in,” in German, Turkish, Arabic, and English—a reference to the thousands of refugees that Germany has received since 2015— in central Königsplatz, and he is also exhibiting an installation comprising documents and archival objects from the Nigerian Civil War at Athens’s National Museum of Contemporary Art. A statement issued by the prize calls his Kassel work, titled Das Fremdlinge und Flüchtlinge Monument (Monument for Strangers and Refugees), “an affirmation of the timeless, universal principles of attention and care towards all those affected by flight and persecution.”

Born in 1964, Oguibe studied at the University of Nigeria before earning his doctorate in London. He has taught at Goldsmiths, the University of London, the University of Illinois in Chicago, and at the University of South Florida, where he held the Stuart Golding Endowed Chair in African art. Oguibe’s work has been exhibited at various institutions across the globe, including the Whitney Museum in New York, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Barbican Center in London, and the Migros Museum in Zurich. He also took part in the Venice Biennale in 2007—the first year in which Africa was first represented with a pavilion.

Oguibe will receive the approximately $11,000 honor at the Arnold Bode Prize ceremony, which takes place on Sunday, September 10, at Kassel’s Town Hall. Previous award winners include Hiwa K, Nairy Baghramian, and Thomas Bayrle.