Akunyili Crosby is the 11th winner of the annual prize, given to an artist under 50 who has produced a significant body of work. She was selected by an independent panel who praised her work as reflecting “the increasingly transnational nature of the contemporary art world.”
The jurors noted her ability to negotiate between her adopted home in America and her native Nigeria, saying the artist “has created a sophisticated visual language that pays homage to the history of Western painting while also referencing African cultural traditions.”
Akunyili Crosby graduated from Swarthmore in 2004 where she majored in art and biology. She later completed a post-baccalaureate certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at shows at the Bronx Museum and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Many of her paintings are autobiographical and explore issues of culture and identity.