Njideka Crosby, visual artist and daughter of Dora Akunyili, former minister of information, has emerged one of the winners of the 2017 MacArthur Foundation genius fellowship. Also known as the “genius” grant, the award pays a “stipend” to fellows spread out in “equal quarterly instalments” over a five year period.
The fellowship, which honors “exceptionally creative people,” comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, to be awarded over five years.
The awardees undergo strict selection criteria by an independent selection committee, having been nominated by external parties.
Cecilia Conrad, managing director, MacArthur fellows programme, applauded the 2017 fellows.
“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.
“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.”
Some other recipients are Cristina Jiménez Moreta (the youngest), founder and executive director of ‘United We Dream’, a national network of advocates for immigrant youths and Dawoud Bey (the oldest), a Chicago-based photographer and educator whose portraits of communities include ‘Harlem Redux’ and ‘The Birmingham Project’.