Njideka Akunyili Crosby is a Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based painter, known for creating intricately collaged domestic scenes that evoke visual elements of her native Nigerian culture. Her work combines elements drawn from the United States, where she has lived sine 1999, and postcolonial Nigeria.
A transnational artist, who has lived for almost equal amounts of time in the United States and her native Nigeria, Crosby works on paper using a variety of mediums. She combines her knowledge of the history of Western painting with African cultural traditions.
Each year she creates eight or nine large-scale, mixed-media works, which blend figurative painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and collage. In addition, her layering technique includes the pasting of West African portrait fabric onto her work, using a Dutch wax-print technique originally from Indonesia. Her daily scenes of domestic life are bold and colorful, evoking personal and political narratives as her work often features scenes of intimacy between herself and her husband.
Crosby has installed a block-long work of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Her piece will wrap the museum’s entire facade. She is the second artist to create such a work.
She has shown in numerous group exhibitions in Europe, Canada, and the United States. She received the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dickie Contemporary Artist Prize among others, and in 2017 she received the MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Norton Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, and others.