Nigerian visual artist sells beautiful artwork for $3.4 million

The Nigerian-born, UK-based artist is Njideka Akunyili Crosby, one of the daughters of late Dora Akunyili.

  • Crosby just made history with the 3.4 million dollar auction of her work named "Bush Babies."

Nigerian visual artist sells her beautiful artwork for $3.4 million (N1.2 billion). This artist is none other than Njideka Akunyili Crosby, one of the daughters of late Dora Akunyili.

Originally estimated to sell for up to $800,000 by New York-based art company dealer, Sotheby's, the artwork - the "Bush Babies" -  ended up going for a whopping $3.4 million during an auction. This makes it the most expensive art sold at an auction.

This masterpiece was auctioned as part of an all-star lineup art exhibition at the Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction in England. Face2Face Africa reports that a lot of the proceeds from the auction is expected to go to charity.

According to a report by Wall Street Journal, the 2017 botanical piece is Njideka's highest selling artwork at the moment. With this sell, the artist has officially gone from once selling her artworks for $3,000 apiece to joining the league of top-notch artists in the United Kingdom.

Who is Njideka Akunyili Crosby?

The visual artist in Enugu state to a Surgeon father named J.C. Akunyili and the late Mrs Dora Akunyili - the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before her death in 2016.

Crosby, now 35, moved to the United States at the age of 16. She initially wanted to be a doctor that is until she fell in love with arts, according to a recent profile by the Wall Street Journal. She has since studied variations of art.

She holds an Arts degree from the Swarthmore College, a post-baccalaureate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Yale University School of Art.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby's artwork

Just three years ago, her works went for an average of $3000. This changed after her 2010 painting of her dancing with her husband, Justin Crosby sold at $5,000 at an auction. It was titled “I Refuse To  Be Invisible.”

Three of her works later sold for $8,000 each at an auction in Fredericks & Freiser gallery in New York. In 2016, she sold two of her works "Drown" and the "Beautiful Ones" for $1.1 million and $3.1 million.

Concerning Crosby's fast-rising career, the WSJ writes, "It has been a jet-propelled rise to the top of the contemporary art world for Ms. Akunyili Crosby - a far cry from the small town in eastern Nigeria where she grew up.

"The artist, 35 years old, has since won a MacArthur "genius" grant. New York's Whitney Museum of American Art and London's Tate Modern have come calling. At least 20 public museums are on a waiting list for works she hasn't painted yet."

She is known for her unique style of painting - a balanced mix of African ethnics and Western standards. For the artist Charles Gaines, her work is "the strongest painting I've seen in a long time".

"When black people paint, we assume they're dealing with race or politics, and that's a postcolonial problem that was unanswered until Njideka. She's painting her ordinary," he added in the WSJ piece.

In spite of her success,  Crosby says she is still vulnerable. “My friends tell me I should just be happy my works are selling, and I am. It’s scary how vulnerable I still feel," she said.

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