Out of nearly 2,500 applicants, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced 171 winners of its 2023 fellowships. Selected on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the 2023 fellows include painters, filmmakers, photographers, writers, architects, scientists, anthropologists, engineers, historians, and mathematicians, ranging in age from 31 to 85. Kapwani Kiwanga is one of the recipients of the 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships.
This year, 48 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 72 academic institutions, 24 states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces, are represented in the cohort. Most of the selected fellows are working on projects directly responding to issues like the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy and policing, scientific innovation, climate change, and identity. The funds awarded vary from recipient to recipient as the foundation does not reveal individual funding.
“Like Emerson, I believe that fullness in life comes from following our calling,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “The new class of Fellows has followed their calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”
Kapwani Kiwanga is well-known for her research-driven work influenced by marginalized histories. Her work frequently takes the form of installations, sound, video, and performance. Her singular approach and use of natural fibers, glass, ceramics, and steel in her large-scale mixed-media works have been shown in a variety of genres such as sculpture, installation, video, and performance. She deliberately confounds reality and fiction to disrupt hegemonic narratives while creating spaces for marginal discourse to thrive.
Her methodology involves developing methods and protocols, as in scientific experiments, to define lenses through which one can view culture and its susceptibility to mutation. Afrofuturism, anti-colonial struggle and its memory, belief systems, vernacular and popular culture are just a few of the research areas which inspire her practice.
Kiwanga has been the recipient of various awards in recent years. She received the Sotheby Art Award in Canada in 2018, the Frieze Artist Award in the United States in 2018, and the Marcel Duchamp Prize in France in 2020. She was awarded the Zurich Art Prize in 2022. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; New Museum, New York (US); State of Concept, Athens; Moody Center for the Arts, Houston (US); Haus der Kunst, Munich (DE); Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel/Bienne (Switzerland); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (US); Esker Foundation, Calgary (Canada); Power Plant, Toronto (Canada); Logan Center for the Arts Chicago; South London Gallery (London); and Jeu de Paume (Paris), amongst others.
Kapwani Kiwanga will be representing Canada at the 60th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale in 2024.
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