Nigerian contemporary artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby moved to the US at age 16 to pursue a career in medicine. Little did she know that she would end up with a Master of Fine Arts from Yale, and skyrocketing auction sales.
As a student of art, I unwillingly try to see the value in studying obsolete art theories invented by dead professors. Half the time my energy goes towards not writing sassy things like that ^ in my academic texts :))) What I prefer to do is staying updated on the art market. Because trust me, theories by Panofsky or Bourdieu won’t be going anywhere any time soon. The art market however, so much is happening there! And so much of what is happening at the financial end of things affects what is happening in the rest of the world.
With this being said I would like to shine the light on Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby. She has become a breakout star at auctions, showcasing at the most prestigious biennales and institutions. Just over a year ago, her pieces sold for around $100,000, and now, last spring, her painting ‘The Beautyful Ones’ sold at Christie’s for more than $3 million!
Njideka Akunyili Crosby layers her canvas with images from Nigerian magazines or movies. What I appreciate about her work other than the aesthetics of her color palette and painting technique, is that it truly feels like she is telling a story with each piece. Most of her paintings depict normal scenes of family members casually interacting with each other in domestic settings. With this Akunyili Crosby is challenging the myth of what is ´authentically African´. By showing how relatable and normal life is in Nigeria she hopes to de-mystify African culture: “It’s hard to think people matter if you don’t feel connected to them. And so it’s about making that connection.”
All images via http://njidekaakunyili.com/