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Pew Fellows News: Mark Thomas Gibson Wins Guggenheim, James Ijames and Raven Chacon Win Pulitzers, and Roberto Lugo and Kukuli Velarde Works in the Smithsonian

Mark Thomas Gibson, 2021 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
Mark Thomas Gibson, 2021 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Catch up on the many activities and accomplishments of our Pew Fellows, and find out where you can see, read, and hear their newest work.

Awards & Recognition

Visual artist Mark Thomas Gibson (2021) is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. These annual fellowships are given to mid-career individuals in a variety of disciplines “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and exhibit great promise for their future endeavors,” according to the Guggenheim website.

Two Pew Fellows have won 2022 Pulitzer Prizes. Playwright James Ijames(2015) won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Fat Ham, a comedy-drama reimagining of Shakespeare's Hamlet originally staged for online performances by The Wilma Theater. Composer and sound designer Raven Chacon (2020) won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for site-specific work Voiceless Mass, a site-specific piece composed for a large ensemble and the pipe organ at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.

Poet Sonia Sanchez (1993) is the recipient of Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, which includes an award of $80,000. Nominated by a panel of her peers, Sanchez was selected to receive the prize by three judges: poets Mary Jo Bang, Marilyn Chin, and Claudia Rankine. In response to the award, Sanchez says, “I promise to continue to wear my days well as I move in the light that is your organization of dedicated supporters and lovers of poetry.”

Pew Fellow Kukuli Velarde poses with a ceramic sculpture from her series A Mi Vida, part of the exhibition Making Place Matter at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia. Photo by John Carlano.
Pew Fellow Kukuli Velarde poses with a ceramic sculpture from her series A Mi Vida, part of the exhibition Making Place Matter at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia. Photo by John Carlano.


Ceramist Roberto Lugo (2019) has a solo exhibition at the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, VA, on view through October 4, 2022. The exhibition includes ceramic works as well as murals, installations, and other visual media and focuses on Lugo’s work “that celebrates and examines current and historic figures who have made an impact in social justice and race relation issues and reflect on his multicultural and BIPOC experiences,” according to the museum website.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has acquired works by Lugo (2019) and ceramist Kukuli Velarde (2003). The museum’s Renwick Gallery acquired over 200 objects to add to its permanent craft collection to celebrate the gallery’s 50th anniversary. More than half of the objects acquired, including works by Lugo and Velardi, will be on view at the gallery from May 13 to April 2, 2023, in an exhibition titled This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World.

Poets Yolanda Wisher (2015) and Trapeta B. Mayson (2002) are collaborating on a new project in partnership with Philadelphia Contemporary called ConsenSIS. Running through September 2022, the multidisciplinary public art project aims to “spark new traditions that commemorate a vital creative community in a city where Black women’s contributions to history are often buried under cobblestones and colonial landmarks.” ConsenSIS is the Philadelphia project site for Monument Lab’s larger Re:Generation project, a nationwide participatory public art and history project organized by Monument Lab.

Visual artist Sharon Hayes (2016) is presenting her first solo exhibition in Germany, Sharon Hayes: What Do We Want?, at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Examining the relationship between the personal and the political, the exhibition includes photography, video, sound, and performance from her multidisciplinary practice. The exhibition is on view through July 29, 2022.

Photographer Emmet Gowin (1994) is included in Love Songs: Photography and intimacy, on view at Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris through August 21, 2022. This group exhibition features images from some of the most important photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Nan Goldin and Nobuyoshi Araki.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden (2016) explores the living history and influence of contemporary Black dance in the United States in The Trace of an Implied Presence. The multichannel exhibition will include three special, in-gallery performances and be accompanied by a free publication that features newly commissioned texts by writers selected by McClodden. The Trace of an Implied Presence will be on view at The Shed in New York City August 3–28, 2022.

Fellows Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips (2017), known also as Black Quantum Futurism, are the only American artists exhibiting at Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, Germany, where they will present three works. Their installation, The Clepsydra Stage, is a floating platform situated in the Fulda River, modeled after a sundial, and activated as a community space over the course of the exhibition. Black Grandmother Clock will be installed in an underpass to collect stories, speeches, songs, and other sounds from passersby, and the audio it collects will be blended into soundscapes emitting from Sonic Shades, a series of sound sculptures. Documenta Fifteen runs through September 25, 2022.

Rea Tajiri, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
Rea Tajiri, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

New Releases

Harpist Mary Lattimore (2014) released West Kensington, a collaborative album with guitarist Paul Sukeena, on May 20. This album was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns when Sukeena and Lattimore found themselves quarantined and making music separately as neighbors in the same building. The duo spoke to The Fader about the album.

The world premiere of Rea Tajiri’s (2015) new film, Wisdom Gone Wild, will take place at this year’s BlackStar Film Festival. The film spans 15 years of Tajiri caring for her mother, Rose, reluctantly until metaphors in their conversations reveal new details of her mother’s life, allowing Tajiri to adapt her caregiving and their relationship to transform.

Director Tanya Hamilton (2004) directed two episodes of HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, which premiered on March 6, 2022. The two episodes directed by Hamilton are “Pieces of a Man” and “Memento Mori.”All episodes are now streaming on HBOMax. Hamilton is also slated to direct a new HBO detective series, Get Millie Black, to be released in 2023.