Njideka Akunyili Crosby, painter and daughter of former Nigerian minister Dora Akunyili, has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship also referred to as the Genius Grant.
Typically awarded to around 20 American artists, academics, writers, and scientists each year, the $625,000 no-strings-attached grant is given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the foundation.
Billed “as an investment in their potential,” the grant is paid out over five years.
Akunyili Crosby mixes painting, drawing, photo transfer, printmaking and other materials to make art.
The Nigeria-born, Los Angeles-based figurative painter Akunyili Crosby was praised by the foundation for her large-scale works that “express the hybridity characteristics of transnational experience through choices of subject matter, materials, and techniques.”
Numerous artists have been awarded MacArthur grants since the “Genius” program was initiated in 1981, including Bill Viola,Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, David Hammons, Vija Celmins, Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, Mark Bradford, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Two other artists also made the list which are Trevor Paglen, and Dawoud Bey.
The 24 recipients of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship are:
- Njideka Akunyili Crowsby – Painter
- Sunil Amrith – Historian
- Greg Asbed – Human Rights Strategist
- Annie Baker – Playwright
- Regina Barzilay – Computer Scientist
- Dawoud Bey – Photographer and Educator
- Emmanuel Candes – Mathematician and Statistician
- Jason De Leon -Anthropologist
- Rhiannon Giddens – Singer, Instrumentalist & Songwriter
- Nikole Hannah-Jones – Journalist
- Cristina Jimenez Moreta – Social Justice Organizer
- Taylor Mac – Theater Artist
- Ramir Nashashibi – Community Leader
- Viet Thanh Nguyen – Fiction Writer & Culture Critic
- Kate Orff – Landscape Architect
- Trevor Paglen – Artist and Geographer
- Betsy Levy Paluck – Psychologist
- Derek Paterson – Historian
- Damon Rich – Designer & Urban Planner
- Stefan Savage – Computer Scientist
- Yuval Sharon – Opera Director & Producer
- Tyshawn Sorey – Composer & Musician
- Gabriel Victora – Immunologist
- Jesmyn Ward – Fiction Writer
Watch Njideka Akunyili Crosby discuss her work below