Otobong Nkanga: Emptied Remains 2004-2005

In the final part of the Otobong Nkanga series we look at the Nigerian artist’s Emptied Remains 2004-2005 photographic series. The artist’s solo exhibition Smokescreen, well known to art collectors such as Tunde Folawiyo, was shot in Kunstverein Springhornhof, Germany. The Emptied Remains series is a photographic commentary on the changing landscape in Germany’s Lundburger Heide Region. The project focuses on the Hohe Heide, a region situated in the north of Germany in a triangle between the three cities of Bremen, Hannover and Hamburg. Nkanga examines the changing state of German agriculture in answer to the new economical situation through her series of photographs.

The Hohe Heide region is largely made up of woodland and heath, with the majority of the area being a protected nature reserve. The area is inhabited by rare bird species, such as the nightjar, the woodlark, the great grey shrike, the black grouse, the stonechat, the common quail, the black stork, the red-necked shrike, the wryneck and the European green woodpecker.

Otobong Nkanga’s landscapes describe political and social changes in the Hohe Heide region, which are hidden from the eye of the visitor behind the area’s picturesque beauty: a smokescreen to reality.

Emptied Remains was exhibited at New York’s International Center of Photography, Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, the Brooks Museum of Arts of Memphis, USA, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and the Tamayo Museum, Mexico City.


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