Mikael Chukwuma Owunna

Mikael Chukwuma Owunna (b. 1990) is an award-winning queer Nigerian-Swedish artist, photographer, Fulbright Scholar and engineer born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mikael has dual degrees in Biomedical Engineering and History (Duke University '12), where he graduated with distinction in engineering and a full merit scholarship. Mikael's Fulbright scholarship took place in Taiwan (2012-13) where he taught photography to Taiwanese aboriginal youth as a space for cultural empowerment, ultimately culminating in a full floor exhibition of the students' works at the National Taiwan Museum (2014). 

Mikael's work centers around identity while bending the medium with his engineering and multidisciplinary background. His projects: I am Atayal!, Limit(less) and Infinite Essence - have collectively exhibited across Asia, Europe and North America and been featured in media ranging from the New York Times, PBS, NPR, Al-Jazeera Plus, BuzzFeed and Teen Vogue to the official outlet of Taiwan's Ministry of Culture. Mikael has been awarded with selections for the 2019 FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo (finalist), the 2018 New York Times Portfolio Review, Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 200, the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward Awards and Review Santa Fe for his series Limit(less) and Infinite Essence. He has spoken and lectured about his work at venues including World Press Photo (Netherlands), Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Duke University, the Paris Institute of Political Studies (France) and Sveriges Radio (Sweden). Mikael speaks English (fluent), French (advanced professional-proficiency) and basic Mandarin Chinese. His work imagines new universes and realities for marginalized communities around the globe.

Mikael's work has been supported by The Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Fine Foundation, The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and The Opportunity Fund. 

Curriculum Vitae

Download Mikael Owunna's C.V.


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