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Njideka Akunyili was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She received her MFA from Yale University in 2011, a Post-Baccalaureate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2006, and her BA from Swarthmore College in 2004. Akunyili was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem and is a 2013 Van Lier Fellow at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, NY. She is one of the 2013 recipients of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant. Akunyili's work has been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY; the Museum of New Art, Detroit, MI; and the Brooklyn Academy of Music among others. Her work is in the collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Yale University Art gallery, the museum at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rubell Family collection.