Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Predecessors

Started
15 July
2017

Ended
01 October
2017

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

When Njideka Akunyili (b.1983) left Lagos for the U.S. at age 16 she detoured from her initial plan to be a doctor to pursue painting and fulfill the urge to tell another side of Nigeria’s story. “America has a lot of people talking about how Nigeria doesn’t,” she says. “Often people have a singular view about Nigeria and Africa. But problems of misrepresentation happen when people tell your story for you.” To posit a pronounced, but hybridized voice she fuses painting, drawing, collage and the use of transfers – a typically Western printing process that involves transferring ink from photographs using solvent. Akunyili Crosby builds up the transfer images of popular culture to reference traditional African textiles, creating quilt-like pieces that speak to post-colonial identities and traditions being pieced together. Her first paintings navigated the domestic landscape of life with her new American husband and intimate scenes of their wedding and home. The Predecessors mines deeper into Akunyili Crosby’s past, collecting portraits of her Nigerian family in a range of domestic settings. This exhibition will unite this seminal series for the first time, bringing together individual pieces from London, New Church, Cape Town in South Africa, New York and Los Angeles to celebrate a formative body in an artist’s rapidly emerging voice.

Special thanks to Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté for their lead support of this project.

Curated by

Ian Berry & Steven Matijcio; Organized by the Contemporary Arts Center & The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.

Sponsored by

Carolyn and Steven BloomfieldJim and Linda MillerSandra and Stephen Joffe The Kroger Co. Libby and Kevin OttAlice Fegelman and Leo Munick M.D.Lauren & Jimmy MillerSusan C Harris, LISW, MSW

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