There is a school of thought – object-oriented ontology, or OOO – that sees humans and non-humans as equals. Looking at Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s portraits of people (including self-portraits with her husband), furniture and clothing, every element is treated with the same warm familiarity, wrapped in real and imagined details that narrate a personal and transnational history. Walls, carpet, tables, a bed – Akunyili Crosby’s inanimate portraits contain as much expression as the characters who inhabit them.
Akunyili Crosby is becoming a recognisable contributor to the global cultural landscape. Following numerous established art world honours in the last year (including the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Art Prize 2014 and selection for the New Museum Triennial in New York this year) the 32-year-old Nigerian-born, Los Angeles-based artist’s huge mixed-media work is now the subject of a solo presentation at the Hammer Museum, with a concurrent exhibition at Art+Practice (running to 10 January and 21 November respectively). The Whitney has just announced that she will be the third artist to appear in its Outdoor Art Series, with an expanded billboard version of her painting Mama, Mummy and Mamma (2014).
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