Akunyili’s Daughter, Njideka Crosby Wins Joyce Alexander Artist Prize
Njideka Akunyili Crosby is the 2015 winner of the tenth annual Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize. The Studio Museum in Harlem made the announcement on Monday, October 26, revealing that it was bestowing its Wein Prize – a $50,000 award won in the past by esteemed artists like Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon and Trenton Doyle Hancock – to the Nigerian-born painter who has lived and worked in the United States for many years.
According to Randy Kennedy in the New York Times, the prize – established by George Wein, a founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, in honor of his wife, Joyce Alexander Wein, a trustee of the museum who died in 2005 – has been given every year since 2006 to established or emerging African-American artists.
Ms. Crosby, 32, who recently moved to Los Angeles, has become known for large-scale paintings that depict African and American domestic scenes. The scenes are visually complicated with collage elements drawn from Nigerian lifestyle magazines, her own photo albums and the Internet, works that, as Smithsonian Magazine wrote,
“explore a complex topic – the tug she feels between her adopted home in America and her native country.”
Ms. Crosby’s work has recently been featured in a solo show at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and was included in the New Museum’s 2015 Triennial. The prestigious Victoria Miro gallery in London began to represent Ms. Crosby earlier this year, and her work is now the subject of anexhibition at the gallery, organized by the critic Hilton Als.
Thelma Golden, the Studio Museum’s director, said Ms. Crosby was chosen because of her work’s “great innovation and promise” and also because she “truly represents the global nature of the Studio Museum’s mission and reach.”