The career of Njideka Akunyili Crosby is an inspiration to everyone who starts late. The daughter of doctors in Nigeria, she figured she would follow in their profession until she happened to take an art class for fun at age 16. That changed the course of her life, guiding her to study art on the East Coast and marry a white man from Texas. Now Focus: Njideka Akunyili Crosby | Counterparts at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth puts the focus on the work of this 36-year-old rising star of the art world who insists that she’s as much an American artist as an African one.
Her paintings have many couches and tea sets. They often depict ordinary people in their homes doing mundane things: watching TV, playing cards, sitting down for a meal. Yet you’ll easily notice the riot of textures in her work, as she uses paint, pencil, images cut out of magazines, and Xerox copies to create her large collages. Often the backgrounds of her canvases imitate the patterns on African fabrics. In this way, Akunyili Crosby comments on the different ideas of domestic comfort that prevail in Lagos, in L.A. (where she’s now based), and in the farm outside the city of Enugu where she spent her childhood. (Her favorite author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, comes from that city as well.) You’ll have only six weeks to take in this exhibition, so be sure to make room for it in your schedule.
Focus: Njideka Akunyili Crosby | Counterparts runs Dec 1-Jan 12 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Admission is $10-14. Call 817-738-9215.