Visual Artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby Receives 2017 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s fellowship — better known as the “genius” grant – and it features 24 extraordinary creatives, ranging from artists to architects.

Out of all the impressive names on the list, one that truly stands out is 34-year-old Nigerian visual artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, most known for using her art to explore her love for Nigeria and her life in America.

The Enugu-born California-based artist, like the other 23 recipients, was selected for having “shown extraordinary originality and dedication in [her] creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”.


Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who received the grant in 2008, Njideka will also receive a $625,000 (N225 million) award from the foundation “as an investment in [her]

About why these 24 recipients were chosen, the managing director of the program, Cecilia Conrad, said:

“From celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all.”

About Njedika’s work in particular, she continued:

“For visualizing the complexities of globalization and transnational identity in works that layer paint, photographic imagery, prints, and collage elements.”

Watch her video with the foundation below:

potential,” paid out over five years with no strings attached.


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