It is hard to forget the Late Dora Akunyii, former Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control of Nigeria and Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications who died in 2014 after a battle with Cancer.
The Akunyili name is back on our lips again, but for very different reasons this time; the world is buzzing about Dora’s daughter, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby who is clearly towing the line of excellence like her mother.
Njideka, a painter, and visual artist, was recently announced as one of the recipients of the prestigious MAC ARTHUR FOUNDATION ‘GENIUS’ GRANT. The annual grant (of which writer extraordinaire Chimamanda Adichie was a recipient in 2008) honored 24 extraordinary creatives ranging from architects, writers, painters, mathematicians to artists, and 34-year-old Njideka is the only Nigerian on the list.
Born in Enugu to a professor mother and a surgeon dad, Njideka, who currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Justin Crosby, (who is also an artist) has a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, and an MFA from Yale University School of Art.
At age 10, she moved to Lagos for her secondary school education at the prestigious Queens College. She claims the move was the worst culture shock she ever experienced in a Multicultural city.
With her art, Akunyili-Crosby negotiates the cultural terrain between her adopted home in America and her native home in Nigeria. She draws inspiration from her experience living in both continents, creating works that expose the challenges of occupying these two worlds.
The award from the foundation comes with a whopping sum of $625,000 (N225 million) which will be paid out quarterly over a period of five years.
The managing director of the Mac Arthur Genius Grant stated that Njideka’s work was chosen:
“for visualizing the complexities of globalization and transnational identity in works that layer paint, photographic imagery, prints, and collage elements.”
Some of her work
We are so proud of this amazing young woman and mother of one for flying the flag high and in so doing, inspiring others to pursue excellence whilst remaining true to their roots.
You can see more of Njideka’s amazing artwork on her Instagram page @njidekaakunyilicrosby
MacArthur Website – www.macfound.org
Njideka Akunyili Crosby Official Website – www.njidekaakunyili.com