Los Angeles–based artists Wu Tsang and Reena Esmail are among the 45 recipients, announced this week, of the 2019 United States Artists Fellowship, a $50,000 unrestricted grant given annually to artists and collectives working across a wide range of disciplines.
“We believe in artists and are so honored to support and care for them in this way,” United States Artists president-CEO Deana Haggag said in a statement. “Each fellow is a reminder of the breadth of our cultural landscape. … From painters to podcasters to pop musicians, we’re lucky to have these artists reflecting our collective humanity and stirring the public’s imagination.”
A composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Reena Esmail bridges Indian and Western classical canons in grand works that create “equitable music spaces” — like “This Love Between Us: Prayers for Unity,” a 40-minute oratorio composed in the wake of the 2016 U.S. elections that premiered at Lincoln Center in 2017. Since 2014, she has been co–composer in residence with Street Symphony on Skid Row, expanding an inclusive practice to include people experiencing homelessness and incarceration.
Wu Tsang, also a 2018 MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient, is an award-winning filmmaker and visual artist known for work that explores the rich space between documentary and fantasy — as in the 2012 feature film WILDNESS, which unearthed and memorialized overlapping, hidden narratives and transformations at L.A.’s historic Latino LGBT bar the Silver Platter.
Watch this space: A full interview with Wu Tsang is coming to L.A. Weekly.