Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Art in 20 Instagrams

Last month, Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s painting, Bush Babies, sold for $3.38 million at Sothesby New York sale, setting a new record for the artist. In the 2017, she won the MacArthur Genius grant. Also in 2017, Njideka, who finished from Yale in 2011, became one of the African artists that command the highest prices with the sale of The Beautyful Ones (2012). A friend asked me what is it about her works and I started explaining how having mastered the art of creating collage and photo transfer-based paintings–a hybrid of painting, drawing, collage, and printmaking, Njideka produces visual narratives, as eloquent as any of Chimamanda Adichie’s novels, of her transcultural life as a Nigerian in the United States; how her compositions are so energized, they make you nostalgic for a place that seems familiar but you know you’ve never been.

Then I thought a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some of Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s works.

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Njideka Akunyili Crosby, whose captivating paintings seamlessly straddle racial, geographic and socio-political concerns, is one of the 42 artists who have generously donated works for auction this May to benefit The Studio Museum in Harlem’s new building project. Shown at the Prospect exhibition this year in New Orleans, ‘Bush Babies’ layers densely-collaged imagery to form a lush, geometric still life. Crosby participated in @studiomuseum’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2011-12, and was a recipient of the institution’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize in 2015. ‘Bush Babies’ will highlight tomorrow night’s #SothebysContemporary sale in #NYC. #FearlessNow #NjidekaAkunyiliCrosby

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As We See You: Dreams of Jand Njideka Akunyili Crosby 2017 Acrylic, transfers, colored pencil and collage on paper On initial impression her work appears to focus on interiors or apparently everyday scenes and social gatherings. Many of Akunyili Crosby's images feature figures – images of family and friends – in scenarios derived from familiar domestic experiences: eating, drinking, watching TV. Rarely do they meet the viewer's gaze but seem bound up in moments of intimacy or reflection that are left open to interpretation. Ambiguities of narrative and gesture are underscored by a second wave of imagery, only truly discernible close-up. Vibrantly patterned photo-collage areas are created from images derived from Nigerian pop culture and politics, including pictures of pop stars, models and celebrities, as well as lawyers in white wigs and military dictators. Some of these images are from the artist's archive of personal snapshots, magazines and advertisements, while others are sourced from the internet. These elements present a compelling visual metaphor for the layers of personal memory and cultural history that inform and heighten the experience of the present. #njidekaakunyilicrosby @njidekaakunyilicrosby

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Opening soon: Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Predecessors at Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, draws together a number of works completed during the past five years. ⠀ –⠀ Drawing on her history – her Nigerian upbringing and her immigration to America, where she now lives with her American husband – the artist conjures the complexity of contemporary experience while challenging the dominant narratives of Western art history. Among the works on show this exhibition will unite important pieces from the Predecessors series to celebrate a formative body in the artist's oeuvre. ⠀ –⠀ Opens 15 July 2017. Image: Image: Mama, Mummy and Mamma, 2014. Acrylic, color pencils, charcoal and transfers on paper. 213.36 x 365.76 cm, 84 x 144 in #NjidekaAkunyiliCrosby #Predecessors @cincycac

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❤️ @njidekaakunyilicrosby #njidekaakunyilicrosby

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#NjidekaAkunyiliCrosby 💛

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Adekemi is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the arts, particularly African art history. She is dedicated to discovering and documenting the most excellent artworks of our time. Follow her on Twitter at adekemitweets.
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