Three Indian-Americans selected as Guggenheim Fellows for 2017

Three Indian-Americans have been selected as Guggenheim Fellows for 2017, among a total of 173 recipients, by The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation board of trustees.

The Fellows, a diverse group of scholars, artists and scientists, were chosen from a group of roughly 3,000 applicants in the program’s 93rd year.

Sandeep Mukherjee and Pramila Vasudevan have been selected in the creative arts category, and Shalini Shankar has been named in the social sciences category.

Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

“It’s exciting to name 173 new Guggenheim Fellows. These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” Edward Hirsch, foundation president said in a statement.

“Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honour to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do,” he added.

In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 64 different academic institutions, 27 states and the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 27 to 79. Another 68 Fellows have no academic affiliation or hold adjunct or part-time positions at universities.

Sandeep Mukherjee

Sandeep Mukherjee
Sandeep Mukherjee. Photo courtesy:

A native of Pune, Sandeep Mukherjee has been selected in the fine arts field of study. He is currently a professor of art at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

A graduate of the Manipal Institute of Technology in India, UC Berkeley, Otis College of Art and Design and UCLA, Mukherjee has more than a dozen public collections of his work in the US and India. He is the recipient of three fellowships and four grants, and has had more than a dozen solo exhibitions and nearly 20 group exhibitions on display over the years in US and India.

Pramila Vasudevan

Pramila Vasudevan
Pramila Vasudevan. Photo courtesy:

Pramila Vasudevan has been chosen in the choreography field of study. Currently a choreographer and interdisciplinary artist based in Minneapolis, Vasudevan has more than 30 years of experience in Bharatanatyam and contemporary Indian dance. The Indian-American is the founder and artistic director of Aniccha Arts, an experimental art group producing site-specific performances that examine agency, voice and group dynamics within community histories, institutions and systems.Aniccha Arts, an experimental art group producing site-specific performances that examine agency, voice and group dynamics within community histories, institutions and systems.

Vasudevan is a 2016 McKnight Choreographer Fellow. Currently, she is a resident artist at Pillsbury House Theatre and the Southern Theatre. In addition to her own practice, Vasudevan is the director of Naked Stages, a fellowship program for emerging performance artists at Pillsbury House Theatre and a teaching artist with Upstream Arts, which activates and amplifies the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities at every stage of life.

Shalini Shankar

Shalini Shankar
Shalini Shankar. Photo courtesy:

Shalini Shankar has been chosen in the field of anthropology and cultural studies. She is a professor of anthropology and the director of the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern University.

A graduate of Wesleyan University and New York University, Shankar is the author of three books. Her fellowship year will be based in Brooklyn, NY, where she will research Generation Z, exploring how this demographic category can be defined in ways that more centrally account for the contributions of immigrants and minorities.

In addition to Mukherjee, Vasudevan and Shankar, Pakistani-American Mahwish Chishty was selected as a Fellow in the creative arts category and fine arts field of study.

Guggenheim Fellowship programme

Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted more than USD350 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets-laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize and other important internationally-recognized honours.

The prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship program remains a significant source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers.