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Luso Mnthali
Oct, 20, 2017

Nigerian visual artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, was recently one of 24 recipients selected to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as a ‘Genius' grant.

The fellows are each awarded $625,000 and are unrestricted in what they choose to use it for. Fellowships are bestowed upon “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

The 34-year-old Los Angeles resident said she wasn’t seeing images of a country she recognized once she moved to the United States and aims to create work that works on multiple levels.

“I use my work to explore the spaces where disparate cultures overlap, really mining my story or my history as someone who grew up in a very small town, moved to a big city in Nigeria, and then eventually moved to the United States and really thinking of people who inhabit spaces like that," she said in a video shared by the MacArthur Foundation. "So thinking of post-colonial spaces and immigrant spaces, spaces where multiple cultures come together."

Crosby says she hopes to share her own unique experiences while also giving others a taste of her reality through her art.

"What I’m doing is mining my life to tell a story that is global but really wanting people to feel like they’re getting a glimpse into my world”

The MacArthur Genius grant is given over a period of five years. Notable recipients previously awarded with the coveted grant include writer Chimamanda Adichie, who received the grant in 2008.