Artist Statement by Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga has adapted her work Diaspore to reflect the specific context of the presentation at the Gropius Bau in Berlin. Originally conceived as a performative work, Diaspore is now shown as a site-specific installation.

“The plant Cestrum Nocturnum (Queen of the Night) is deeply connected to my childhood memories due to its powerful, sweet perfume it released only at night. During the day it just looked like any other plant in the neighbourhood.

After the adaptation of Diaspore, there are 15 potted Cestrum Nocturnum plants in the space. These plants were initially carried by 15 performers who performed during the month of July.

The plants are placed at the different spots where the performers were positioned. Visitors can now navigate on the topographic map of Diaspore. By moving through the space they can reflect on how plants and people find ways of existence and rootedness in different circumstances. I would like to invite the visitors that come into this room to have a moment of contemplation as they move around.

Cestrum Nocturnum (also known as Queen of the Night, night-blooming jasmine or Raatrani), is a species of Cestrum in the plant family Solanaceae. The plant is endemic to the West Indies.

Cestrum Nocturnum has become widely naturalised in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world and is difficult to eradicate. It is classified as a weed in some countries.”

— Otobong Nkanga

Diaspore Performers: Kathiana Abraham, Julie Abricot, Chikamara Nicole Ajah, Loane Alonzeau, Cylan Barker, Stephanie Burrell, Raphaëlle Efoui Delplanque, Elif Huber, Virginnia Krämer, Isabel Kwarteng-Acheampong, Oumou Nassri Aidara, Adelle Nqeto, Chantale Nurse, Ekene Okobi, Manuela Rondón