Arts & Culture

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Exhibition Featuring Nostalgic Portraits Of Nigerian Children Is On Display At The Huntington Through June

From Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s series “The Beautyful Ones,” (#1c and #8) via

Five collage-based paintings by prominent Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby are on display at The Huntington in San Marino, CA through June 12th, 2023. 

Curated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and critic Hilton Als, it is the third and final exhibition for a series that made its debut in 2019. The exhibition is in collaboration with the Yale Center for British Art and each artist. Past exhibitions in the Hilton Als series spotlighted the works of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2020) and Celia Paul (2019).

For the final exhibition, the paintings featured are from Akunyili Crosby’s ongoing series, “The Beautyful Ones,” which references the classic 1968 novel, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ghanaian author Ayi Kwei Armah The mixed media portraits, which include members within her own family, are of Nigerian children in quiet, intimate settings.

The interiors of the paintings are reminiscent of her own 1980s youth, decorated with remnants of the past: analog electronics and record players, polaroid photos, and vintage decor. Akunyili Crosby incorporated  acrylic paint, charcoal, colored pencil, and transfers on paper to produce the fascinating images that feel like memory personified.  

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born and raised in Nigeria, Akunyili Crosby (b. 1983) is a notable contemporary artist known for her critical view of postcolonial history and experience. In 1999, she came to the United States and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Swarthmore College, and went on to receive her master’s in fine arts from Yale University.  Akunyili Crosby’s work has received global attention, and was the subject of distinguished solo exhibitions in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” in 2017.

Learn more about “The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby” by visiting The Huntington’s website.

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Ayanna Nicole

Hi! I’m Ayanna, a writer and artist. Although I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with two degrees in art and psychology, I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. By following my dreams and utilizing my creativity, I designed Jaro Magazine with the ultimate intention of bringing more positive stories in the black community to the forefront, while also highlighting our versatile and vibrant culture through Jaro’s four modes: film, books, art, and music. I also manage a book hub, which you can find on Instagram @bloomingliterature.

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