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"The Beautyful Ones" Series #5

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigerian, born 1983). "The Beautyful Ones" Series #5, 2016. Acrylic, transfers, colored pencils, pastel, graphite, collage and commemorative fabric on paper, 61 x 42 1/2 inches (154.9 x 108 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of John Mortimer Schiff, by exchange, 2017 (2017:3). © 2016 Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Image courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

© 2016 Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Image courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© 2016 Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Image courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Nigerian, born 1983

"The Beautyful Ones" Series #5, 2016

acrylic, transfers, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, collage, and commemorative fabric on paper

support: 61 x 42 1/2 inches (154.94 x 107.95 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Bequest of John Mortimer Schiff, by exchange, 2017

2017:3

Currently On View

More Details

Inscriptions

no inscriptions

Provenance

from the artist to Victoria Miro Gallery, London;
sold to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, March 7, 2017

Class

Collages (visual works)

Work Type

Collage (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s work draws from a wide array of influences, including the aesthetics and culture of Nigeria, where she lived until she was sixteen; an analytic mind and love of science (she started college as a Biology major); and an engagement with the history of art, especially traditional figurative drawing. Alongside photo-transfers of her own snapshots, family photos, and clippings from Nigerian fashion and news magazines, the artist employs commemorative fabrics and deft figure drawings. The resulting compositions are typically autobiographical, plumbing her fears, her pride, her loves, her memories, and her sense of belonging or not belonging.

This painting belongs to an ongoing series of portraits of the artist’s family members. The title of the series, “The Beautyful Ones,” is borrowed from the 1968 novel The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah. The subject of this particular image is Akunyili Crosby’s mother as a young student, smiling as she sits on what is presumably the stoop of a school. Portions of the step feature photo-transfers of exuberant runners at the end of a race—possibly a pun on the classic pangram “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” that appears behind the young woman. The chalkboard is surrounded by a swatch of portrait fabric produced to commemorate the funeral of the artist’s mother, who was a senator and head of the Nigerian food and drug agency. In the fabric, her mother’s likeness is encircled with her name and the tribute “Our Icon of Hope Moves On.” In this work, the artist presents an intimate portrait of aspiration and female accomplishment across generations, and an affirmation of the transformative power of education.

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