Summer is in full swing! Last month, we shared a wealth of experiences that highlight African American artists and explore the African American experience. Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu and The Duncanson Murals are both on view, but we’re looking ahead to the upcoming Contemporary Arts Center exhibit opening July 14th.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby: The Predecessors is a powerful exhibit coming to the CAC.  While initially the artist left Lagos for the U.S. at the age of 16 to become a doctor, she instead chose to pursue painting as an urge to share her experience as a Nigerian. “America has a lot of people talking about how Nigeria doesn’t,” Crosby says. Her paintings were a way to share another side of Nigeria that many don’t get to see.

The series celebrates her family and Nigerian background fused with western culture, her immigration, and her marriage to a white American. Crosby highlights a range of domestic settings with portraits of her late mother – an important political figure in Nigeria – her sister, and the artist herself. While her work is very personal, it explores universal themes of identity, culture, and traditions. The Predecessors is a collection uniting pieces from London, Johannesburg, New York and Los Angeles. Using a hybrid of techniques – from painting, to drawing, collage, and the use of transfers – Crosby tells the story of her past through quilt-like creations.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby is one of the more influential painters in African American history. Her large-scale paintings have garnered international attention for their investigations in the confluences, contact zones, and third spaces of culture in her work.

The exhibition will be on display until October 20. Don’t miss out!