top of page

The Jeffrey Ahn, Jr. Fellowship Announces 2020 Winner

The Jeffrey Ahn, Jr. Fellowship is pleased to announce that the 2020 Fellowship award has been granted to Emma Penaz Eisner, 17, a rising senior at Fusion Academy San Francisco.

For her Fellowship project, Emma proposes to create a three-channel video art installation entitled Vodnik Many Years After the Rainstorm that will be based on the story of the Vodník, a singular and alienated fish-man creature from Czech folklore.

Stills from the film I Am He Who Created Himself

Emma's video work will involve a series of interconnected, multimedia images that transform the text of the poems into a visual language.

Film still from Will I Scatter Away

Still from Emma's film work Will I Scatter Away

In her winning proposal, Emma wrote, “As a Czech-American, growing up the daughter of a Czech immigrant mother and enjoying a close relationship with my Czech immigrant grandparents, I find that the Vodník is an ingrained part of my cultural consciousness and artistic development. The Vodník’s plight fascinates me. While he has human form and intellect, he is a water creature, relegated to live with fish in a lake. He repulses other human beings and, thus, is unlovable; he is utterly lonely and alone. His desperation for human love and companionship drives him to acts of profound cruelty, yet he is a paradoxically sympathetic creature because his yearning for love reflects the universal human struggle to combat existential loneliness and isolation."

Emma's work will ultimately materialize as a three-screen installation of her video work.

Still from Emma's film work Pearls Sinking

Emma's proposal was chosen by a distinguished jury including gallerist Helena Anrather; photographer Antonio Bolfo; artist Ben Thorp Brown; artist Ian Cheng; Nathan Clements-Gillespie, Director, Frieze Art Fair; Kelly Kivland, Curator, Dia Art Foundation; gallerist Gracie Mansion; artist Rachel Rose; Xiaoyu Weng, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Lucas Zwirner,Head of Content, David Zwiriner Gallery.

bottom of page