Victoria Miro announced late last month that she is “delighted” to be representing Njideka Akunyili Crosby - this year’s winner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize.
As a succession to the $25,000 award, the 32-year-old Nigerian born artist, is now to be represented by one of the “grandes dames of the Britart scene”- the internationally acclaimed art dealer with dual London gallery spaces, Victoria Miro.
“Informed by art historical and literary sources, Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s complex, multi-layered works reflect contemporary transcultural identity…Akunyili Crosby’s large-scale figurative compositions are drawn from the artist’s memories and experiences,” it is noted on Victoria Miro’s website.
As she pushes a melange of acrylic, paste, colour pencils, charcoal, marble dust, collage and transfers, the LA based artist populates her work with images of family and friends, in scenarios with details derived from everyday domestic experiences in Nigeria and America.
Combining collage and photo-transfer to provide texture and complexity, Crosby’s bold yet intimate paintings are described as “among the most visually, conceptually, and technically exciting work being made today.”
Her painterly compositions feature images with a thematic resonance to each particular work, which derived from personal archives, Nigerian lifestyle magazines and sourced from the internet.
When concluding the decision for Crosby’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize, the jurors wrote: “Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s nuanced work reflects the increasingly transnational nature of the contemporary art world…She has created a sophisticated visual language that pays homage to the history of Western painting while also referencing African cultural traditions. Akunyili has a striking ability to depict deeply personal imagery that transcends the specificity of individual experience and engages in a global dialogue about trenchant social and political issues.”
Crosby has participated in numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including most recently “Draped Down”(2014) at The Studio Museum, “Sound Vision” (2014) at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and “Bronx Calling: The Second Bronx Biennial” (2013) at the Bronx Museum. She will see her work featured in the New Museum Triennial in 2015.