This year the National Museum of African Art (in Washington DC) has an online exhibit that you can enjoy on this link (opens a new tab). One of their exhibits is an art piece by Nigerian, female, contemporary artist: Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Due to an under-representation of female artists in today’s media, I was uncomfortably forced to add the word “female” next to “contemporary artist”. My hope is, one day soon terms like “contemporary artist” will cease to represent one gender, more than the other. Having watched the video below I gained an immediate respect for how much of her own personal life Njideka uses in her work. All her work!
I was left convinced that Njideka Akunyili Crosby is a true master of authenticity! A lot of artists talk about being inspired by their lives and experiences. Saying it, however… and actually being able to tangibly prove it, are two different things. And Njideka Akunyili Crosby managed to both speak about her authenticity and then demonstrated it, all in less than six minutes.
Each time I now see any of her works, like the one attached below. It feels more intimate and unbeatably original. As seen in the interview above, creating these works eats up her very limited pool of family heirlooms. Every time! Now, that’s as authentic and intimate as art can ever get. Art pieces that are birthed solely from store-bought supplies pale in comparison when measured next to these pieces of Njideka’s soul.
I will now use the creation above to invite you to a Virtual Lecture that she will be having here. If you are reading this before 15 October 2020, then you might just be able to register for the lecture, right now! African art has long-since been treated as a one-dimensional farce by the global community. It brings joy to my aching heart to see our continent’s ever-evolving, creative diversity finally being celebrated and recognized. Globally! If 15 October is too far for you (and you are itching to experience more of Njideka Akunyili Crosby) visit her official website here. I hope you have enjoyed this article.