Text by Siddhartha Mitter

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s colorful collage-paintings lay bare the complexities of the African and diasporic experience

Nigerian-born, Los Angeles–based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby's figurative paintings at first appear to be paintings of quotidian indoor scenes inspired by the artist's personal photographs of friends and family in Nigeria. But on closer inspection, it becomes clear that large segments of these paintings are composed of collages, themselves created from personal photos and images taken from Nigerian magazines.

This richly textured appearance conveys the complexities of the African and diasporic experiences of Akunyili Crosby and of the people whose likenesses she captures in her paintings. In her series The Beautyful Ones, Akunyili Crosby paints Nigerian children as they appear in everyday life, posing in a classroom or standing pajama-clad next to the TV. This book features full-color reproductions of the paintings with detail shots that allow the reader to see the collage work up close, as well as an introductory essay by the well-known art writer Siddhartha Mitter.