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University at Albany Professor of Photography Awarded Prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship

Gabon, 2013. (Photo by Phyllis Galembo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 21, 2014) -- University at Albany Professor of Photography Phyllis Galembo has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for 2014.  Galembo is among 178 scholars, artists and scientists honored from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants across the U.S. and Canada. “This honor represents extraordinary recognition of Professor Galembo’s talent and dedication to her art,” said Edelgard Wulfert, Dean of UAlbany’s College of Arts and Sciences. “It highlights her prior achievements and exceptional promise, as well as the significance of the arts at the University at Albany.”

A full professor at UAlbany since 1997, Galembo photographs cultural and religious traditions as well as the transformative power of ritual dress in Africa and the Americas. Her interest in these traditions began in 1985 during her first visit to Nigeria. Since then she continues to travel, making portraits at masquerade events and ceremonies. Galembo plans to return to West Africa to continue her work.

Last year, Galembo’s work was exhibited in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace) at la Biennale di Venezia, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Venice, Italy. The Venice Biennale is one of the most significant exhibitions in the contemporary art world. Included in the exhibit were eight large-scale color prints presenting figures from Galembo’s Ghana series.

She has had one-person exhibitions at the International Center for Photography and the American Museum of Natural History, and has exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution. Her work has been collected by the Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Albany Institute of History and Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The author of four books, Galembo has an MFA in Photography/Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Senior Research Award to Nigeria. In connection to her work and exhibits Galembo has appeared on CNN, NPR Radio and NBC Today in New York City.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $315 million in fellowships to almost 17,700 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poets laureate, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winners and Fields Medalists.

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