Born in 1989 in Lagos, Nigeria, Marcellina Akpojotor had her first apprenticeship under her father; assisting him with drawing, design, stencil, writing and calligraphy work before she eventually moved on to study Art and Industrial Design at the Lagos State Polytechnic.
In 2017, she was selected to be part of the Rele Arts Foundation Young Contemporaries exhibition and was awarded the Ronke Ekwensi Salon fellowship following her profile in the publication The Art of Nigerian Women by Ben Bosah. Akpojotor has also taken part in several group exhibitions including, Orita Meta, (2021), Rele Gallery, Los Angeles, BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind, (2020), Ross Sutton Gallery, New York, Sisters: The Art of Nigerian Women (2018) at Carnegie Gallery, Ohio, and the Young Contemporaries Alumni Exhibition (2020) at the National Museum, Lagos.
Marcellina Akpojotor held her first solo exhibition She Was Not Dreaming at Rele Gallery, Lagos in 2018 and her second exhibition Daughters of Esan: The Alpha Generation in 2021 at Rele Gallery, Los Angeles. She has participated in prominent art fairs across the world including Art Basel Miami Beach (2021) FNB Art Joburg (2019), Art Dubai (2020) and the LA Art Show (2020).
Employing collaging and traditional painting techniques, Akpojotor produces richly textured and layered work with compelling visual imagery exploring femininity, personal and societal identity, familial history and women empowerment in contemporary society. Working primarily with discarded pieces of the Ankara fabric ─ sourced from local fashion houses ─ commonly known as the ‘African print fabric’ despite its Dutch origin, she investigates the politics of the fabric as a cultural signifier and a conduit for memory and shared energy.
In her work, Akpojotor presents powerful images that at once capture the unyielding strength, complexities and seemingly effortless style of her subjects while also referencing the long, arduous journey to female empowerment and gender equality, especially in contemporary African societies.