Last month, W Magazine highlighted the work and success of Njideka Akunyili Crosby ’11MFA. At 34, Akunyili Crosby has already exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and won numerous awards, including the Prix Canson. Many of her works explore Akunyili Crosby’s experiences of growing up in Nigeria and coming to the United States. She explains, “I wanted to put out pictures of these parts of Nigeria that I knew and experienced. People forget that life exists in these places. There are serious things that are wrong in the country, but people exist and thrive. We hang out. We get married. We talk as a family. We lie in bed together. I can’t make this point enough. It’s hard to think people matter if you don’t feel connected to them. And so it’s about making that connection.”
This fall, her works will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art (October 25th opening) and at Prospect New Orleans (November 18th opening). Additionally, Skidmore College’s Tang Museum will be showing her series “Predecessors” from October 14 – December 30.
In the interview, Akunyili Crosby discussed her time at Yale and how it influenced her artistic development. W magazine writes, “While there [at Yale], she discovered the work of the artist Kerry James Marshall, whose depictions of black identity and intimacy, using the language of Western painting, ‘blew my mind’ she said, recalling his 2009 portrait of a black woman ‘with this big, beautiful hairstyle’ holding a painter’s palette. ‘I don’t think any work has had an effect on me like that. He was putting images in a space where you don’t expect to see them. And I’m thinking, What am I looking at? It’s this woman who is unapologetically black. Black, black, black. Not even a darkish brown aubergine.’ She had developed her technical chops at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she said, but now she saw that she could make her own rules.”
You can read the full feature and learn more here.