Otobong Nkanga: Diaspore

Open Call [closed]

Deadline for applications was 21 June 2020.

In her work Diaspore, shown as part of her solo exhibition There's No Such Thing as Solid Ground at the Gropius Bau, Otobong Nkanga explores the language of the diaspora. For the performance the artist is looking for women* who identify as having Black / African heritage.

Otobong Nkanga, Diaspore, 2014

Otobong Nkanga, Diaspore, 2014. Site-specific installation and performance, 14 Rooms, Basel © Otobong Nkanga

Photo: Andri Pol

Otobong Nkanga’s interest lies in the complex relationships between humans and land. In her works, she explores this relationship within the tension between exploitative extraction processes and structures of care and repair. Following her one-year stay as In House: Artist in Residence 2019 at the Gropius Bau, the solo exhibition will offer insights into the central issues of her work.

The performance Diaspore consists of one to two women at a time entering the exhibition room, each carrying the plant night-blooming jasmine on their heads, while walking over a topographical map drawn on the floor of the room. In constant dialogue with the plant, they guide their movements carefully through different territories. They map the floor, hum, move in a rhythm, face away, face the public, stare, turn on their axis and stand still while carrying the pot with the plant on their head or shoulder. The artist explores the language of the diaspora, of leaving what is called home and facing forwards a new future.

For the performance the artist is looking for women* who identify as having Black / African heritage. Those interested should be at least 18 years old, have an affinity for humming as well as free interpretation of given verse and should be able to communicate performatively. Participants should have the physical ability to carry the pot with the plant on their head or shoulder for maximum of 45 minutes at a time.

Deadline for applications is 21 June 2020.


  • Performance period: presumably 9.7.–13.12.2020
    Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri: 16:00–18:00
    Sat, Sun: 13:00–18:00
  • Online audition in the end of June, rehearsals on a maximum of 5 afternoons
  • Payment on an hourly basis
  • Hygiene measures are complied


If you are interested, please contact Anuschka Gooß at . Insights into the performance can be found in this video.

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