Favorite Contemporary Artist: Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Born and raised in Nigeria, artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby currently lives and works in America.  Her art is often a combination of collage, painting, photo transfers, and drawing.  In her work, Akunyili Crosby often depicts scenes of everyday domestic life, such as scenes in living rooms and bedrooms, which are reminiscent of our own lives in America.  Yet in those universal scenes, Akunyili Crosby also pays homage to her Nigerian heritage by layering her photographs of Nigerian culture, Nigerian magazine images, and wedding album photos in the backgrounds of her art.   Her juxtaposition of domestic scenes with intimate images (via photo transfers) chronicles her identity as a Nigerian woman living in America and disputes the all too common stereotype of an “authentic African.”  Through her work, Akunyili Crosby reconciles the complexity in her sense of “home” and belonging as both Nigeria, her birthplace, and America, where she lives now, are both home to her.  Although extremely personal, her work is relatable and accessible to many others, such as immigrants or international students, who have left their original home for America.  Lastly, Akunyili Crosby references classical art, as evidenced in her realistic painting and compositions, yet through photo transfers and the collaging of fabric, she alludes to Nigerian culture and tradition.  Her ability to draw on her personal experiences to create art that speaks to a wider audience is something I greatly admire.

Check out her website to see her portfolio:

http://njidekaakunyili.com/

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Caroline Chang ‘18

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