United States Artists announces 2019 USA Fellows, from painters to podcasters to pop musicians, each receiving $50,000 in unrestricted funding.

"Born in Brooklyn to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Faizullah currently teaches in the writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a visiting artist-in-residence."

CHICAGO—The Chicago-based nonprofit United States Artists (USA) announced its 2019 USA Fellows last week. Among the forty-five artists and collectives, working across disciplines, is Tarfia Faizullah, a poet who is based in Colleyville, Texas and grew up in Midland, Texas. Each grantee will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award. 


Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf, 2018) and Seam (SIU, 2014). Faizullah is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship and three Pushcart prizes and, in 2016, she was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change.  


Her writing has appeared widely in publications across the U.S. and abroad, including in the Daily StarHindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, “PBS NewsHour,” Huffington Post, Poetry MagazineMs. Magazine, the Academy of American PoetsOxford American, the New Republic, the NationHalal If You Hear Me (Haymarket, 2019), and has been on display at the Smithsonian and the Rubin Museum of Art, to name a few.  


Faizullah’s writing has been translated into Bengali, Persian, Chinese, and Tamil, and is part of the theater production Birangona: Women of War. Her collaborators include photographers, producers, composers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists, resulting in several interdisciplinary projects, including an EP, Eat More Mango.  


She presents work at institutions and organizations worldwide and has been featured at the Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Conference, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Radcliffe Seminars, NYU, Barnard, UC Berkeley, the Poetry Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, and Brac University, among others.  


Born in Brooklyn to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Faizullah currently teaches in the writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a visiting artist-in-residence. 


The 2019 USA Fellows range in age from their twenties through their seventies, hail from eighteen states across urban, suburban, and rural communities, and are each making significant contributions to their respective fields as architects, ceramicists, choreographers, filmmakers, podcasters, poets, composers, playwrights, weavers, sculptors, journalists, and more. 


Spanning creative disciplines including architecture and design, craft, dance, film, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual art, and writing, USA fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers, working across the country, through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. The fellowships are entirely unrestricted, encouraging artists to use the funds for whatever they need, be it housing, medical expenses, debt reduction, their artistic practice, or anything else.  


Since its founding in 2006, USA has distributed over $25 million to more than five hundred artists and collectives. Past awardees include cartoonist Chris Ware, choreographer Anna Halprin, writers Tayari Jones and Claudia Rankine, fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, visual artist Glenn Ligon, conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady, filmmaker Barry Jenkins, bead-worker and garment-maker Darryl Montana, performance artist Narcissister, architect Johnston Marklee, and musician Wayne Shorter.