Njideka Akunyili Crosby
July 23, 2022
December 4, 2022
About the Exhibit
Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby has described her desire as an artist to “center Black life, my experience as a Black woman, and the complexity of Black life—and to infuse every piece I make with…this deep love I have for my Black experience.”
This intimate exhibition presents four recent paintings on paper by Akunyili Crosby, the largest of which, Still You Bloom in This Land of No Gardens, depicts the artist holding her young child on the back porch of her home, enveloped by lush plants and vines. She decided to create this work to counter the relative absence of representations of loving Black mothers in art, to make “the images I wish to see.”
The other three paintings in the exhibition are new works shown publicly for the first time at the Blanton. All prominently feature Akunyili Crosby’s distinctive photo-transfer technique using reproductions culled from a vast image bank of photographs of her family in Nigeria; magazine spreads depicting notable Nigerian athletes, models, and musicians; and Vlisco fabric catalogues she has amassed “as a way of staying connected to home.”
The teeming presence of plant life, such as plumeria, fruit trees, and rubber trees, is also notable in these recent works. Their abundance suggests the garden as a space of sanctuary, but also the artist’s interest in “cosmopolitan plants” that thrive in the urban settings of Lagos and Los Angeles, her former and current home. While departing from her past focus on domestic interiors, these lush paintings reflect a continued interest in creating hybrid spaces that combine aspects of Nigerian and American life: “When you are an immigrant, no matter where you are, the histories and the cultures of where you grew up are always with you.”
Organized by Veronica Roberts, Former Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art, and Claire Howard, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art
Members get free admission.
Upcoming / Past Events
Njideka Akunyili Crosby is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Kahng Foundation, with additional support provided by Suzanne Deal Booth and Ellen and David Berman.
Feature Image Credit
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Still You Bloom in This Land of No Gardens, 2021, acrylic, photographic transfers, colored pencil, and collage on paper, 96 x 108 in., © 2021 Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner (photo: Jeff Mclane)