at home: Artists in Conversation | Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Conversation
June 16, 2021

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, artist (Yale MFA 2011), in conversation with Courtney J. Martin, director of the Yale Center for British Art (Yale PhD 2009)

at home: Artists in Conversation

Join us for lively and inspiring conversations with some of today’s most notable artists. at home: Artists in Conversation brings together curators and artists to discuss various artistic practices and insights into their work.

About Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria in 1983 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a BA from Swarthmore College in 2004, a postbaccalaureate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2006, and an MFA from Yale’s School of Art in 2011. Drawing on art historical, political, and personal references, Akunyili Crosby creates densely layered figurative compositions that illustrate the complexity of contemporary experience. 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, Edouard Vuillard’s domestic interior patterns, the academic tradition of portraiture, and still-life painting are influences that inform her work. Akunyili Crosby’s cultural identity is a combination of her strong attachments to Nigeria, her birth home, and to her adopted home in the US—a hybrid identity that is reflected in her artwork.

Akunyili Crosby was a participant in La Biennale di Venezia, 58th International Art Exhibition, May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff (2019). Recent solo exhibitions include Njideka Akunyili Crosby: “The Beautyful Ones" at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2018–19), and Counterparts at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2018–19) and Baltimore Museum of Art (2017–18). She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (2020), an honorary doctorate of art from Swarthmore College (2019), and a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” (2017). Awarded the United States Artists Fellowship in 2021, Akunyili Crosby’s work is in museum collections throughout the world. She will be featured in a future exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, as part of a series curated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hilton Als.

This program is presented through the generosity of the Terry F. Green 1969 Fund for British Art and Culture.