Nationwide search for this year’s Duncanson artist-in-residence leads to writer, author and educator from Columbus
Ajanae Dawkins has been selected as the 35th Duncanson artist-in-residence honoring the achievements of contemporary African American artists.
Dawkins will lead public programs, teach workshops and visit schools across the Greater Cincinnati area April 10-23.
The Robert S. Duncanson Society was founded in 1986 by Doris Rankin Sells, the late William Joel McCray and Ruth K. Meyer to proclaim an ongoing Black presence within the structure of the museum, including the Duncanson artist-in-residence.
Dawkins studied at the University of Wisconsin receiving a degree in English/creative writing.
Currently she is a fellow of ‘The Watering Hole’ writer’s retreat for African American writers and of ‘Pink Door Writing Retreat’. She is an editor for ‘Voicemail Poems’, the 2020 Nancy Craig Blackburn Fellow as an MFA candidate at Randolph College and an Alford Scholar as an M.Div. candidate at Methodist Theological School of Ohio.
Dawkins has performed at venues across the country including opening for the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and for Taft’s first Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, poet Nikki Giovanni.
Her work is published in ‘The EcoTheo Review’, ‘The BreakBeat Poets Black Girl Magic Anthology’, ‘The Offing’, ‘Tinderbox Poetry Journal’, ‘Winter Tangerine’, ‘The Blueshift Journal’, ‘Voicemail Poems’, ‘The Underscore Review’, ‘Word Riot’, ‘Gramma Poetry’ and more. Her work has also been featured on ‘For Harriet’, ‘Def Jam’, ‘Button Poetry’ and in ‘EBONY Magazine’ for the “Faces of Frustration: A Year of Racial Protest.”
Dawkins’ craft has also been recognized by being the winner of ‘Tinderbox Poetry Journal’s’ Editors Prize, a finalist for the ‘Cave Canem Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook’ prize and a finalist for the ‘Brett Elizabeth Jenkins’ poetry prize. She also has been a contributing writer for the ‘Theatre LILA’ in Madison, WI.
Dawkins is a two-time individual finalist for the Rust Belt regional slam, crowning her as one of the top five poets in the Midwest, twice.
Past winners include fashion designer Asha Ama Bias-Daniels, filmmaker Ya’Ke Smith, jazz vocalist Carla Cook and author Sharon Draper.