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Dora Akunyili’s daughter makes MacArthur fellowship ‘genius’ list



Figurative Painter and daughter of late Dora Akunyili, Njideka Akunyili Crosby is among the 24 winners of the 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

According to the foundation, Mac Arthur fellowship awards 20 American artists, academics, writers, and scientists each year, the grant is given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the foundation.

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Each will receive a $625,000 award from the foundation “as an investment in their potential,” paid out over five years.

34-year-old Los Angeles-based Akunyili was chosen by the foundation for her large-scale works that “express the hybridity characteristics of transnational experience through choices of subject matter, materials, and techniques.”

In a statement released by the foundation, the managing director, Cecilia Conrad applauded the 2017 fellows.

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The statement reads in part, “These new MacArthur fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all,” Cronard said in a statement.

“We hope that when people read about the fellows, it makes them think about how they might be more creative in their own lives.

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“It does something for the human spirit.”

Crosby described herself as a “cosmopolitan Nigerian” who crosses the divide between cultures and is developing an innovative way to represent culture and history from multiple viewpoints.

“I use my work to explore the spaces where disparate cultures overlap,” she said.

“I want people to feel that they are getting a glimpse into my world.”