Abakanowicz Fellows

2020-2021 Fellows

Maysam Al-Ani

Maysam Al-Ani is a digital media artist, game designer, and filmmaker, and the lead artist for Atomic Chrysalis. Her work explores concepts of third-culture-kid and diasporic identities inspired by personal experiences. This includes narratives of fragmented relationships, memories, and identity surrounding the US invasion of Iraq, where she is originally from, and the influence of technology on media portrayals and language barriers, particularly between English and Arabic. Maysam holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Industries & Technology from Northwestern University, where she earned a Studio20Q fund to write and direct an animation “Where Are You Right Meow?” She is currently pursuing an MFA in Art & Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Elise Butterfield

Elise Butterfield is a curator, arts administrator, dancer, and disability advocate. Her work, often through co-creation with others, deals with the interaction between bodies, ideas, and space. Currently a student in the dual MA in Arts Administration and Art History at SAIC, Elise previously worked as Programs and Gallery Director at Art Access in Salt Lake City, Utah. There she worked closely with artists to curate myriad exhibitions, and helped to start Breaking Barriers, a state-wide cultural accessibility training program. Elise, a 2021 Magdalena Abakanowicz Fellow, currently works with the SAIC Dept. of Exhibitions and is a company member of The Space Movement Project. A native Seattleite, Elise holds BAs, magna cum laude, in Dance and International Studies from the University of Washington. 

Hugo Ivan Juarez

Hugo Ivan Juarez identifies as Mexican-American and as a representative of culture he aims to share the familial through the medium of art. He is a co-founder of Familia Printmakers which is a community and member based printmaking shop in his hometown of Dallas, TX. His curatorial work began with the organization of pop-up exhibitions in dorms, apartments, houses, small businesses, and Airbnb’s. These untraditional venues were taken over with the work by artist's who occupy the space in between the museums and galleries. Above all he believes that art is a force of power that can change the world.

Robert Pierce

Robert is an independent curator and art scholar in Chicago, Illinois. He is the recipient of the 2019 San Francisco Art Institute Masters Fellowship, 2020 La Mirada Cultural Scholar-in-Residence, and 2021 Magdalena Abakanowicz Fellowship. He has delivered lectures at the California Art of the State and Community Built Association Conferences and was recently the guest curator for Francis McComas: Rediscovering California’s First Modernist at the Monterey Museum of Art. His current research focuses on identifying gaps in representational knowledge and providing a generative framework for the inclusion of marginalized voices in the institutional art world.

Vince Phan

Vince Phan is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is primarily ephemeral. Using flowers and other short-lived materials, his work explores the nature of beauty in relation to time and beauty in culture. He is a Graduate Scholar at Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. He holds a BA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. He is now pursuing an MFA in Sculpture at School of the Art Institute  of Chicago.  

Sofía Sanchez Borboa

Sofía is an art historian and curator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm and a master’s degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Visual and Critical Studies. In her curatorial practice, she works with ideas of kindness as a form of labor to make art more accessible and horizontal. She often works in a participatory environment. In her research, she focuses on issues of nation-state allegiance, ethnicity, identity politics,  postcolonialism, and feminism and how these are told through history and storytelling.

Taylor Shuck

Taylor Shuck is an independent curator and scholar based in Chicago, Illinois, and one of the co-lead artists for How do we trouble time? She holds a Bachelor's degree in Painting and Art History from Maryland Institute College of Art and a Masters degree in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Taylor is a recipient of the 2021 Magdalena Abakanowicz Fellowship to curate and assist in the development of a site specific augmented reality installation. Her current research focuses on the interdisciplinary enmeshing of art, technology, and science with an interest in embodied social impact through interactive art.