Through intimate family portraits, Marcellina Akpojotor advocates for girls’ education in Nigeria

Only 10 countries in the world have a bigger gender gap than Nigeria when it comes to education, with around 70% of boys in the country attending primary school, compared to only 58% of girls.


It’s just one of the issues that Nigerian artist Marcellina Akpojotor addresses in her work.

She has exhibited around the world and gained international recognition for her family portraits that combine acrylics with scraps of Ankara fabric. But behind their dynamic patterns, Akpojotor’s works tell a deeper story of family, femininity and female empowerment in contemporary African society.


Akpojotor, 33, presented a body of work at last year’s Art Basel in Miami entitled “Ode to Beautiful Memories,” which pays homage to her community in Lagos. Featuring eight pieces, the collection tells the story of her female family members across five generations, starting with her late great-grandmother Dede Eboheide Anare and ending with her six-year-old daughter.

July 29, 2022