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Dipankar Mukherjee.

Dipankar Mukherjee Named McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist

The award is granted annually to a Minnesota artist and comes with a $100,000 prize.

MINNEAPOLIS: The McKnight Foundation has named Dipankar Mukherjee their 2023 Distinguished Artist. The award is given annually to a Minnesota artist who has made significant contributions to the state’s cultural life and comes with a $100,000 prize.

“We are delighted to celebrate Dipankar, whose powerful vision has contributed to the cultural soul of Minnesota for more than 30 years,” McKnight Foundation president Tonya Allen said in a statement. “He is a person who walks his talk and whose remarkable art and deep humanity have been a source of healing and inspiration for our state.”

Mukherjee, a director and the co-founder of Pangea World Theater, is known for his practice of decolonized theatremaking. A native of Kolkata, Mukherjee has worked in India, England, Canada, and the United States, and was previously a resident director at the Guthrie Theater. He has also directed works commissioned by Amnesty International, Centro Legale, and the Advocates for Human Rights. He has served as a Ford Foundation delegate to India and to Lebanon and has been awarded a Bush Fellowship and a Humphrey Institute Fellowship.

Mukherjee also served as a co-founder of Longfellow Rising, a coalition to rebuild Minneapolis with justice and equity after the murder of George Floyd. Mukherjee and the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church commissioned artist Angela Two Stars to create a community healing piece adjacent to the city’s Third Police Precinct. He is now working with Pangea to build a new theatre and outdoor community space in the neighborhood most impacted by the uprising after Floyd’s murder.

“In addition to being a superb, internationally renowned director, Dipankar is a tenacious community-based-changemaker, mobilizer, and healer,” DeAnna Cummings, the McKnight Foundation’s arts program director, said in a statement. “He continues to search for justice through art and push for change in the theatre and in the world through work that is unique and daring.”

The McKnight Foundation seeks to advance a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and the planet thrive. The foundation is committed to advancing climate justice in the Midwest, building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota, and supporting the arts in the state.

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