Dora Akunyili’s Daughter, Njideka Crosby Wins $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship Award

Njideka Crosby, the daughter of the late former NAFDAC DG, Dora Akunyili has won the MacArthur Fellowship Award. The fellowship, which is to honour “exceptionally creative people,” comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, to be spreaded over five years.

The awardees undergo a very strict selection criteria by an independent selection committee, having been lined up for nominations by external parties.

Cecilia Conrad, managing director, MacArthur fellows programme, applauded the 2017 fellows.

“These new MacArthur fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all,” Conrad said in a statement.

“We hope that when people read about the fellows, it makes them think about how they might be more creative in their own lives.

“It does something for the human spirit.”

Njideka, who described herself as a “cosmopolitan Nigerian” who crosses the thin lines between cultures and is bringing up an innovative way to live to the requests of culture and interpret history from multiple points of view.

“I use my work to explore the spaces where disparate cultures overlap,” she said.

“I want people to feel that they are getting a glimpse into my world.”

Some other recipients of the fellowship are; Cristina Jiménez Moreta (the youngest), founder and executive director of ‘United We Dream’, a national network of advocates for immigrant youths and Dawoud Bey (the oldest), a Chicago-based photographer and educator whose portraits of communities include ‘Harlem Redux’ and ‘The Birmingham Project’.

The 34-year old former winner of New Museum Awards was also listed top of the best ten black artists in 2026 and she is represented by Victoria Morton Gallery,  UK.

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Her 2012 painting Drown, a technically innovative acrylic- and transfer-on-paper scene of embracing lovers, sold for $1.1 million at Sotheby’s in 2016, which was a record for the artist at auction and a figure which more than tripled the high estimate of $300,000.

Below are some of her artworks:





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