Igbo Rising: a performance of Nigerian traditional music

Igbo Rising: a performance of Nigerian traditional music

David Zwirner

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Ejuna na-aga, ọ kpụlụ nkọlikọ ya; New Haven (Enugu) in New Haven, CT, 2022. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner. © Njideka Akunyili Crosby.

September 27, 2023
Igbo Rising: a performance of Nigerian traditional music
In Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s exhibition
Igbo Rising: October 4, 6pm & 7pm
David Zwirner
519 West 19th Street
New York, New York 10011
United States

David Zwirner is pleased to present Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Coming Back to See Through, Again at the gallery’s 519 West 19th Street location, an exhibition of new and recent work that debuted at David Zwirner Los Angeles in May 2023. To mark the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City, Akunyili Crosby and David Zwirner have invited traditional Nigerian musician Gerald Eze of Ichoku Academy to perform in the exhibition. His music adds an additional dimension to Akunyili Crosby’s work, enhancing and enriching the exhibition while expanding public understanding of—and preservation of—Nigerian Igbo culture.

Born in Nigeria, Akunyili Crosby moved to the United States as a teenager in 1999, and her work reflects her hybrid cultural background and experiences. In her methodically layered compositions, Akunyili Crosby combines painted depictions of people, places, and subjects from her life with photographic transfers derived from her personal image archive as well as Nigerian magazines and other mass media sources. The resulting works are visual tapestries that vivify the personal and social dimensions of contemporary life while evocatively expressing the intricacies of African diasporic identity.

The works on view in New York bring multiple places and temporalities together within single compositions. In these works, Akunyili Crosby uses doorways, screens, posters, and windows as devices that open to other worlds, such as private interior spaces, lush external gardens, and bustling Nigerian markets.

Eze founded Ichoku Academy in 2018 as an organization devoted to the promotion and preservation of Igbo music. Providing instruction to children and adults, the academy seeks to conserve traditional folk forms and instrumentation, while developing Igbo musical culture to meet modern needs and creative expression.

In his music, Eze not only excavates endangered Igbo musical instruments and traditions, but he also uses his extensive knowledge of contemporary music and theory to reinterpret these traditions. This textured reimagining of style and contemporizing of tradition resonates with Akunyili Crosby’s artistic practice. “Ichoku Academy’s music is culturally unique and without their visit, this style of music cannot easily be heard or experienced in the United States. What they create with sound mirrors what I am doing through visual language,” comments Akunyili Crosby. 

RSVP to join us for the musical performance. Visit Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Coming Back to See Through, Again through October 28, 2023. 

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David Zwirner
September 27, 2023

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