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Fulbright-Nehru Fellow Accepts Residency at MICA

Ph.D. Candidate Unni Karikkat Will Work Under the Mentorship of Dr. Leslie-King Hammond, Director of the Center for Race and Culture

Posted 10.15.12 by MICA communications

Unni Karikkat, MICA’s Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellow for the 2012-13 academic year.

BALTIMORE—MICA's Center for Race and Culture (CRC) and Office of Research are pleased to announce they will host Unni Karikkat, a Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellow, for the 2012-13 academic year.

Karikkat is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Aesthetics at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. He intends to use his Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship in the United States to conduct research for his dissertation on the subject of visual culture and identity. The working title of his dissertation is Assertion of Vernacular Identity in the Context of Globalization.

At the CRC, Karikkat will work under the mentorship of Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, founding director of the CRC and graduate dean emerita. "The Center for Race and Culture is very excited about the residency of Mr. Karikkat," King-Hammond said. "This will be an exceptional opportunity to have a scholar of this international stature on the MICA campus and in the city of Baltimore. His research will complement the goals and vision for MICA's Center for Race and Culture to be a catalyst for scholars, students and artists to cross-pollinate ideas about race, art, culture and identity from an international perspective."

A part of Karikkat's interests include the comparative study of popular culture in India with that of the rest of the world. The overarching concern of his study is to develop a theoretical framework and a set of analytical tools that helps us understand how visuals in all popular culture are read and interpreted by viewers who are situated in specific historical and cosmo-political space. Considering the centrality of the representation of identities in popular culture, Karikkat hopes to explore the ways in which these images are conceived with certain sensitive vernacular case studies.

According to Karikkat, he applied to MICA because of its excellent reputation for fine arts and art history. As his application developed, CRC turned out to be the perfect location for him to work and further strengthen his methodology in the study of visual and popular culture.

Karikkat plans to be in residence at MICA from November through July. He will contribute to the MICA community by discussing traditions in Indian art as well as contemporary popular Indian culture with faculty and students studying art history.

Karikkat's undergraduate and master's work at Bangalore University was in fine arts. While there, he was the recipient of the prestigious honor of gold medal certification for his thesis in Masters of Visual Arts with Applied Arts under the direction of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He has won over fifty prizes, awards, scholarships and titles in local, regional, national and international art competitions. After receiving his master's, he has worked as an illustrator and a cartoonist, as well as a designer for a photographer. Karikkat also volunteered with the Red Cross Society to help people afflicted by flooding in India.



Image caption: Unni Karikkat, MICA's Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral and Professional Research Fellow for the 2012-13 academic year.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.