Nigeria-American choreographer named 2018 MacArthur Fellow

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12:ÊPortrait of Okui Okpokwasili on the street in Brooklyn, NY on September 12, 2018.Ê(Photo byÊJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)Ê
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12:ÊPortrait of Okui Okpokwasili on the street in Brooklyn, NY on September 12, 2018.Ê(Photo byÊJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)Ê

A Nigerian choreographer, Okwui Okpokwasili, has been named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Ms Okpokwasili, 46, is one of the recipients of the “genius award” and is duly being recognised for ”making the lives of women who have been left out of dominant culture narratives and their stories visible”.

This year’s winners, 25 in total announced, on Thursday spanned several professions. They include a journalist, scientists, artists, musicians, writers, and a human rights lawyer.

A key figure in the New York experimental dance scene, Okpokwasili’s productions are experimental and meet at the intersection of theatre, dance and the visual arts. She is also known for her role in the music video for Jay-Z’s 2017 album titled 4.44.

The MacArthur fellowships, awarded annually for exceptional “originality, insight and potential,” come with a no-strings-attached award of $625,000, disbursed over five years.

The selection decisions focus primarily on exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances.

There are no applications for the award.

Past winners include American rapper, Lin-Manuel Miranda and American writer and producer, David Simon, but most of the recipients are less well-known.


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