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MMUF Fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a figurative painter who graduated from Swarthmore College in 2004, is one of 24 recipients of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship. Known as "genius grants," the fellowships are awarded annually to individuals who, according to the MacArthur Foundation, "have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction."
As a Swarthmore Mellon fellow, Akunyili Crosby majored in art and biology, and later earned an MFA from Yale University. Along with paint, her work makes use of fabric, photographs, news clippings and other materials; the settings of her paintings are often domestic, but their multimedia elements bring the outside world to bear on the situations she depicts. She previously received the Smithsonian Museum's James Dicke Contemporary Art Prize in 2014. Our warm congratulations to Njideka for this exceptional honor!