2018 Tauck Ritzau Residency at ISCP

Brooklyn, New York—For the second year in a row, Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy (TRIP) is underwriting the Tauck Ritzau Residency for artists from Africa, which runs this year from June 1, 2018 through August 31, 2018, at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP).

Nigerian artist Modupeola Fadugba (b. 1985), whose elegant and socially concerned paintings and works on paper address issues of identity, representation, and access, was selected as the 2018 Resident from a pool of more than 100 applicants across the African continent. Ms. Fadugba’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Africa and France and her figurative paintings of African and black American synchronized swimmers were recently included in a group exhibition at the Royal Academy, London and appeared on a spring cover of a recent international issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The Africa Centre, a Cape Town-based pioneering, progressive non-profit organization, carried out the search.

This is the second ISCP residency underwritten by TRIP with support from The Dennis Elliott Founder’s Fund, named in honor of the founder and first director of ISCP. Last year’s inaugural recipient was Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1978), a self-taught Angolan artist and winner of the Frieze Art Award who works in photography, performance, and video.

Although Africa enjoys a thriving contemporary art scene, there is limited funding for world-class residency programs for young and promising artists to produce and present new work and to make connections that will further their career.

Housed in a former factory in Brooklyn and featuring 35 light-filled work studios and two galleries, ISCP is the most comprehensive visual arts residency program in New York City and the fourth largest in the world.

Ms. Fadugba, who studied chemical engineering and education at Harvard but has no formal training in studio art, confesses that her academic background might pre-dispose her to conducting “large-scale experiments”—she paints on papers that she carefully burns in her studio. This summer, she receives full use of a private studio; assistants; a stipend for living and housing expenses; and extensive professional development opportunities, such as studio visits from art critics and participation in talks and exhibitions.

On a warm July night, Ms. Fadugba presented a visually striking ongoing series, “Synchronized Swimmers,” which depicts an underwater world filled with dynamic, moving bodies weaving stories about teamwork, friendship, and unity during a special “Artists at Work” presentation.

Deeply interested in the social history of communal swimming pools, Ms. Fadubga said the location of her residency in New York City allowed her to find inspiration in The Harlem Honeys and Bears, an acclaimed all-black synchronized swimming team for senior citizens who perform water acrobatics and offer free swim lessons to children to reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning. Previously, she had depicted synchronized swimmers in Lagos, Africa in her representational works.

Ms. Fadugba described a lack of swimming culture for black and African American communities in the U.S., noting that black and African American children in the U.S. drown at five times the rate of other children. In fact, according to the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African Americans do not know how to swim.

“How can I think about synchronized swimming in a more meaningful way?” she mused during the talk in which she projected images of her work.

From August 24, works created Ms. Fadugba at ISCP will go on view at Gallery 1957 in Accra, Ghana. As of this writing, we are delighted to learn that Ms. Fadugba’s residency has been extended for one month, until the end of September 2018, with underwriting provided by Gallery 1957.


Images: 2018 Tauck Ritzau Resident Modupeola Fadugba during a recent studio talk at ISCP, Brooklyn, NY.