Dora Akunyili’s Daughter Njideka Akunyili Crosby awarded $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, painter and daughter of former Nigerian minister Dora Akunyili, has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

Akunyili Crosby was described by the foundation as “a figurative painter whose large-scale works express the hybridity characteristic of transnational experience through choices of subject matter, materials, and techniques.”

Akunyili Crosby mixes painting, drawing, photo transfer, printmaking and other materials to make art.

She says she draws experience from her life as a cosmopolitan Nigerian woman who lives and works in the United States.

She was born in Enugu, but now lives in California.

The MacArthur Fellowship, also referred to as the Genius Grant, awards $625,000 to artists, writers, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and people from all works of life who have shown exceptional creativity.

The grant is doled out in quarterly installments, made over a period of 5 years.

Amongst past recipients is writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who received the grant in 2008.

The 24 recipients of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship are:

  • Njideka Akunyili Crowsby – Painter
  • Sunil Amrith – Historian
  • Greg Asbed – Human Rights Strategist
  • Annie Baker – Playwright
  • Regina Barzilay – Computer Scientist
  • Dawoud Bey – Photographer and Educator
  • Emmanuel Candes – Mathematician and Statistician
  • Jason De Leon -Anthropologist
  • Rhiannon Giddens – Singer, Instrumentalist & Songwriter
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones – Journalist
  • Cristina Jimenez Moreta – Social Justice Organizer
  • Taylor Mac – Theater Artist
  • Ramir Nashashibi – Community Leader
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen – Fiction Writer & Culture Critic
  • Kate Orff – Landscape Architect
  • Trevor Paglen – Artist and Geographer
  • Betsy Levy Paluck – Psychologist
  • Derek Paterson – Historian
  • Damon Rich – Designer & Urban Planner
  • Stefan Savage – Computer Scientist
  • Yuval Sharon – Opera Director & Producer
  • Tyshawn Sorey – Composer & Musician
  • Gabriel Victora – Immunologist
  • Jesmyn Ward – Fiction Writer

Watch Njideka Akunyili Crosby discuss her work below;

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