Olu Oguibe wins Kassel’s Arnold Bode prize

Olu Oguibe, 2017, Image: Mathias Völzke


The city of Kassel, home of the Documenta quinquennial, has awarded its annual Arnold Bode Prize to artist, writer and curator Olu Oguibe.

Oguibe is one of the artists participating in the current Documenta 14. His Monument for strangers and refugees is installed on Kassel’s Koningsplatz. The phrase “I was a stranger and you took me in,” is written in German, English, Arabic, and Turkish on the four sides of the sixteen-meter high obelisk. 

Born in Nigeria in 1964, Oguibe studied in Nigeria before moving to London in the late 1980s, receiving his doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, for his thesis on the Nigerian artist Uzo Egonu. Alongside his artistic practice, Oguibe published critical writings in publications such as Third Text before working on the journal of African art Nka, with Okwui Enwezor. Oguibe subsequently taught at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and at the University of South Florida. Oguibe’s work has been shown at institutions including the Whitney Museum in New York, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Barbican Centre in London, as well as in the Migros Museum in Zurich. He took part in the Venice Biennale in 2007—the first year in which Africa was first represented with a pavilion.

Named after the founder of Documenta, the Arnold Bode Prize will be presented at a ceremony on September 10, at Kassel’s Town Hall. The €10,000 prize is funded by Kasseler Sparkasse. Previous award winners include Gerhard Gerhard Richter, Rebecca Horn, Richard Hamilton, Maurizio Cattelan, Romuald Hazoumé, Goshka Macuga and Hiwa K.


5 July 2017