“Nigeria Is Almost A Third Character In My Work”


Check out this slideshow of work by emerging artist and Studio Harlem alum Njideka Akunyili, who grew up in New Haven, Nigeria, and got her MFA at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut.

Packed with references to other Nigerian artists like author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and musician Nelly Uchendu, the pieces explore the intersection between her old home country and her new one, the traditional and the modern.

“When I was young, the less Nigerian you were the cooler you were, but now we have gone back to tradition,” said Akunyili. “There’s a nice energy about the country that’s finally coming into its own.”

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →