Visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, 34, is having a moment. In 2017, she won a so-called MacArthur "genius" grant, and over the past few months her work has been shown in Baltimore, New Orleans and upstate New York.
Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States when she was 16. Her large-scale paintings (some as big as 8 by 10 feet) reflect her life in both countries. They show groups of people in Nigeria or Brooklyn or Los Angeles, and incorporate photographs of politicians, images of ancestors (mostly women) and objects that signify life in both cultures — a bowl to hold rice, a kerosene lamp, Ikea furniture.
Akunyili Crosby says, "I think the point I make in my work is that my home is Nigeria and the United States at the same time."
Image: Njideka Akunyili Crosby in her Los Angeles studio, September 2017.