Choreographer and Performer, Okwui Okpokwasili Named One of 2018 MacArthur Fellows


Okwui Okpokwasili, a Nigerian-American choreographer, has been named among the 2018 MacArthur Fellows alongside 24 others.

According to the foundation, the 2018 fellows are “solving long-standing scientific and mathematical problems, pushing art forms into new and emerging territories, and addressing the urgent needs of under-resourced communities. Their exceptional creativity inspires hope in us all.”

A choreographer and performer, Okwui makes visible the interior lives of women whose stories of resistance and resilience have been left out of dominant cultural narratives.

The Fellowship supports their recipients with a stipend of $625,000 paid out in installments over five years.

Watch her talk about her work here

About Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, and writer, creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that draw viewers into the interior lives of women of color, particularly those of African and African American women, whose stories have long been overlooked and rendered invisible.

The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Okwui was born and raised in the Bronx, and the histories of these places and the girls and women who inhabit them feature prominently in much of her work. Her productions are highly experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts.

Okwui Okpokwasili received a B.A. (1996) from Yale University. Her performance work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, and Jacob’s Pillow, among other institutions.

She has held residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Rauschenberg Foundation Captiva Residency, and New York Live Arts, where she was a Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.


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