After being profiled in the 2019 TIME Magazine ‘100 Next’ list, an annual list of 100 influential people in the world who through their craft, are imparting the world, Nigeria-born acclaimed global artist, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, is in the news again.
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This time, it is about the visit by former United States of America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, to the renowned artist’s studio in California.
Njideka has proved herself as a creative prodigy of the 21st Century through her art, and no wonder she continues to attract global recognitions. If she were to be enjoying media hype like most foreign creatives do, she would be making the headlines every day. Her usually bright-coloured autobiographical paintings of domestic life scenes which dominate her narrative, endear her to fans across the globe of which Michelle Obama has proved to be one of them.
To say that intelligence, creativity, hard work and diligence run in her family, wouldn’t amount to flattering or praise singing considering the efforts her genius of a mother, late Professor Dora Akunyili, made as former Director-General of the National Agency for Food Administration and Control; and also as former Minister of Information and Communications from 2008 to 2010, to rebrand Nigeria.
Born in Enugu to J.C. Akunyili and the late Dora Akunyili, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, now 35, moved to the US at 16, and has since studied variations of art.
According to reports, in 2018, Njideka became the second person to be chosen to create a mural on the walls of the Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art which was visible from Grand Avenue’s sidewalk. She has had her works sold for millions at auctions.
Last year, the artist made history with the sale of one of her paintings for the sum of N1.2bn. the iconic botanical painting titled, “Bush Babies” which was initially valued at $80,000 by Sotheby, a New York Based art dealership, was later sold for $3.4 million.
“Bush Babies”, just like many other paintings she has done, was inspired by her heritage as well as her own experiences as a Nigerian woman living and working in America.
Not too long ago, she won a $625,000 MacArthur Genius Grant which made her N225m richer.
The dextrous painter and Adriana Varejao are featuring in an exhibition at Haus Der Kunst, Munich, titled “Interiorities”. The exhibition beginning from 29 November, 2019 runs till 29 March, 2020. It focuses on interior of the imagination in addition “to the interior as a real setting, as a private retreat or shelter, or as a space with the potential to reflect and change the social and political Zeitgeist.”