Njideka Akunyili Crosby was born in Nigeria and now lives in the United States. Like much of her work, Portals reflects upon her life and the dual worlds of both countries. For this two-part work on paper, she invented an interior space. On the left is the artist’s self-portrait. On the right, she has depicted framed pictures of her family—her parents, her in-laws, her grandmother, and her own wedding. Areas of the composition include portrait fabric from her mother’s campaign for the Nigerian senate and images of album covers featuring Nigerian musicians.
A portal is a doorway, gate, or other entrance into an indoor or outdoor space. Crosby’s Portal brings you into her invented room. Create your own portal into an imaginary space! Fold a sheet of paper in half to make a mini portal book. Use colored pencils to design an interesting portal on the outside front cover page. What kind of space does your portal lead to? Draw it on the two inside pages. What does the other side of your portal look like from this space? Draw it on the back cover.
Installation view of Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 22, 2019–January 2021). Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Portals, 2016. Photograph by Ron Amstutz