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Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Elevating Nigerian Art to Unprecedented Heights


Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Elevating Nigerian Art to Unprecedented Heights

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a 40-year-old visionary artist, has been making waves on the global art scene. As the daughter of the late Prof Dora Akunyili, she has inherited a legacy of excellence and is forging her path to artistic greatness.

Her artistic prowess has elevated her to the status of the most valuable Nigerian artist in history and among the most valuable female artists worldwide. One of her remarkable works, ‘The Beautiful One,’ commanded a staggering $4.74 million at Christie’s auction in November 2022. What’s even more impressive is that this same artwork had previously sold for $3.075 million in March 2017, marking a remarkable $1.7 million increase in just five years.

Njideka’s artistic journey includes her second most expensive work, ‘Bush Babies,’ which was acquired for $3.375 million at a Sotheby’s auction in March 2018. Her artistic career kicked off with an untitled piece that sold for $93.75K in September 2016. However, just two months later, in November 2016, her work ‘Drown,’ a compelling piece that portrays her reclining with her husband, exceeded all expectations by selling for an impressive $1.1 million.

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Over the past seven years, Njideka Akunyili Crosby has witnessed 22 of her works go under the hammer, achieving auction prices ranging from $100K to a staggering $4.474 million.

Her contributions to the world of art have not gone unnoticed. In 2016, Njideka was honored as one of the Financial Times ‘Women of the Year.’ The following year, she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, often referred to as the ‘Genius Grant,’ which came with a substantial $625K prize.

Beyond her remarkable success in the world of fine art, Njideka’s talents extended to a massive mural design that adorned the Museum of Contemporary Art, Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, in 2018. Her work “Thriving and Potential, Displaced (Again and Again and…)” was commissioned for the Met’s exhibition, ‘Before Yesterday We Could Fly,’ in 2021, showcasing her ability to transcend boundaries.

Njideka’s art has been featured in numerous prestigious exhibitions, including ‘Women Painting Women’ at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2022 and the National Portrait Gallery’s 2023 Kinship exhibit.

In a world where she consistently breaks barriers and redefines artistic norms, Njideka Akunyili Crosby is undoubtedly another source of immense pride for Nigeria and the global art community. Her journey continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

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