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Mokgosi Wins a 2017 Vilcek Prize for Creative Arts

Gallatin faculty member is one of three outstanding immigrant artists so honored

Feb 2, 2017

Mokgosi in the studio

Mokgosi in the studio, photo: Mark Davis for Interview Magazine

Artist and Gallatin faculty member Meleko Mokgosi is one of three outstanding immigrant artists, including multimedia artist and Colombian immigrant Carlos Motta and conceptual artist and Egyptian immigrant Iman Issa, selected as a recipient of a 2017 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts. The Prizes are awarded to immigrants who have demonstrated outstanding achievement during the early stages of their careers.

The Vilcek Foundation, established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants to the United States from the former Czechoslovakia, offers the unrestricted cash awards of $50,000 to honor the Vilcek’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered them as newcomers to the United States. The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of immigrant contributions in America and fostering appreciation of the arts and sciences.

The award citation describes Mokgosi, who was born in Botswana, as a “considered painter; behind every painting he produces are hours of research, reading, and conversations with people. Mokgosi is interested in depictions of Africa and its people; he believes that the widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans has done a violence to the people of the continent, and through his art he attempts a representation that is fair and just. He is deeply concerned with politics, and seeks to understand and illuminate the relations of power that shape people, families, villages, regions, and nations.”