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Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History Latest Ocula Conversation
In Partnership with Artspace Sydney
Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History By Ruth McDougall, Sydney

Artist Taloi Havini and Ruth McDougall, curator of Pacific art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, discuss Havini's first Australian solo exhibition, Reclamation .

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Armory Week Lowdown: Art Shows to See Latest Ocula Report Armory Week Lowdown: Art Shows to See By Casey Carsel, New York

After structural issues forced The Armory Show into last-minute relocation pirouettes last year, the fair returns between 5 and 8 March 2020 with a flourishing programme, complemented by stand-out shows across New York City.

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Ella Kruglyanskaya Steals from Art History, Takes Back Gaze Ocula Insight Ella Kruglyanskaya Steals from Art History, Takes Back Gaze By Tessa Moldan, London

For her second solo exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery in London, Ella Kruglyanskaya's compositions signal the many possibilities of paint.

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HomePage Artists

b. 1983, Nigeria

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Biography

Drawing on art historical, political and personal references, Njideka Akunyili Crosby creates densely layered figurative compositions that, precise in style, nonetheless conjure the complexity of contemporary experience. Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria, where she lived until the age of sixteen. In 1999 she moved to the United States, where she has remained since that time. Her cultural identity combines strong attachments to the country of her birth and to her adopted home, a hybrid identity that is reflected in her work. 

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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.  

While the artist's formative years in Nigeria are a constant source of inspiration, Akunyili Crosby's grounding in Western art history adds further layers of reference. Religious art, the intimism of Edouard Vuillard's intoxicatingly patterned interiors, the academic tradition of portraiture and, in particular, still life painting become vehicles for delivering, Trojan horse-like, new possible meanings.

These are images necessarily complicated in order to counter generalisations about African or diasporic experience. Talking about her work, Akunyili Crosby notes, 'In much the same way that inhabitants of formerly colonised countries select and invent from cultural features transmitted to them by the dominant or metropolitan colonisers, I extrapolate from my training in Western painting to invent a new visual language that represents my experience - which at times feels paradoxically fractured and whole - as a cosmopolitan Nigerian.'

Akunyili Crosby was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1983 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She was awarded Financial Times' Women of the Year, 2016, alongside the Future Generation Art Prize 2017 Shortlist. She is the recipient of the Prix Canson Prize, 2016, Foreign Policy's Leading 100 Global Thinkers of 2015, the Next Generation Prize, New Museum of Contemporary Art, 2015, the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, 2015, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum's James Dicke Contemporary Art Prize, 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Predecessors, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH, 15 July–1 October 2017, travelling to Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, 14 October–31 December 2017; Portals, Victoria Miro, London, 2016, I Refuse to be Invisible, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 2016, and The Beautyful Ones, Art + Practice, Los Angeles, 2015, staged concurrently with a solo presentation at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015. Akunyili Crosby has recently displayed work at institutional venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2016; the New Museum, New York, 2015; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2014; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, 2014; Landcommandery of Alden-Biesen, Bilzen, Belgium, 2014; BRIC, New York, 2013; Bronx Museum, New York, 2013; and the Museum of New Art Detroit, 2012. Her work is in the collections of major museums including Yale University Art Gallery, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Tate, The Norton Museum of Art, Zeitz MOCAA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby is the recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship.

Text courtesy Victoria Miro.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Featured Artworks

For Services – Victoria Regina by Njideka Akunyili Crosby contemporary artwork
Njideka Akunyili CrosbyFor Services – Victoria Regina, 2013Oil, acrylic and collage on canvas
61 x 50.8 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire about this work
Super Blue Omo by Njideka Akunyili Crosby contemporary artwork
Njideka Akunyili CrosbySuper Blue Omo, 2016Acrylic, transfers, coloured pencils, collage on paper
213.4 x 274.3 cm
Sold
Victoria Miro

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Rock My Soul at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
2 October–2 November 2019 Group Exhibition Rock My Soul Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, "The Beautyful Ones" at Victoria Miro, Venice
Closed
8 May–13 July 2019 Njideka Akunyili Crosby "The Beautyful Ones" Victoria Miro, Venice
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibiton, God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
10 January–16 February 2019 Group Exhibiton God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin David Zwirner, 19th Street, New York

Njideka Akunyili Crosby Represented By

Njideka Akunyili Crosby In Ocula Magazine

58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times By Mohammad Salemy, Venice

The 58th Venice Biennale , May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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Njideka Akunyili Crosby In Related Press

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The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale Related Press The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale 30 April 2019, The Art Newspaper

There are hundreds of exhibitions in Venice during the Biennale. Alongside the main exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale, there are 90 national presentations, many in nearby pavilions in the Giardini and in spaces around the Arsenale, but also dotted throughout Venice. Then there are the official collateral exhibitions in museums and galleries...

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Lines of Influence: Centennial Exhibition Explores Jacob Lawrence’s Connections with Artists Past and Present Related Press Lines of Influence: Centennial Exhibition Explores Jacob Lawrence’s Connections with Artists Past and Present 30 January 2018, Culture Type

Sixty-five years ago, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) made a painting about a Harlem card game, depicting four nattily dressed card players in the midst of a hand. Left to the devices of a lesser artist, an image of black people engaged in a game of cards could easily be dismissed as hackneyed at best. Executed by Lawrence, for whom the ordinary...

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Paintings That Manage to Focus Our Divided Attentions Related Press Paintings That Manage to Focus Our Divided Attentions 6 October 2017, Hyperallergic

We are saturated by media messaging. It stands to reason, then, that video and interdisciplinary art are popular contemporary art forms — the collage-like nature of those media match the constant barrage of imagery, advertising, and sensory inputs we receive on a daily basis. So where does that leave the hallowed medium of painting? How can...

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The best American art of 2016 Related Press The best American art of 2016 19 December 2016, The Guardian

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Norton Museum of Art No more play. If 2016 endures in American history as a year of epochal disaster, then it will be fair to ask, in the grim years to come: how on earth could artists have joked around so much while the darkness gathered? But in a year whose most debated exhibition came from a quartet of dim New York...

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