Travel the world this week through art. Visit Milan via mixed media works by Paolo Ventura at Weinstein Hammons Gallery, get a taste of Japanese philosophy through Mayumi Amada’s sculptural installations at Gordon Parks Gallery, learn about Palestinian history with Pangea World Theater’s premiere of “Returning to Haifa” at Mixed Blood Theatre, and enjoy the rhythm and blues of Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate. Also this week, Cameron Patricia Downey shows their work at Hair + Nails Gallery, and New Native Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of “This is How We Got Here.”
Milano Per Filo e Per Segno
Paolo Ventura assembles a love letter to his home city, Milan, in an exhibition of 16 works that bring together photography, painting and collage, with a focus on the beauty of Milan’s architecture. Beginning with a photograph printed on multiple panels that are stitched together, Ventura then uses paint to create a dreamlike cityscape, infusing the scenes with emotion and wonder. It’s the artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery, and a book accompanying the exhibition, published by Danilo Montanari Editore (Ravenna, 2023).The opening reception takes place Thursday, April 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Weinstein Hammons (free). More information here.
This is How We Got Here
New Native Theatre takes on the issue of teen suicide in the American Indian community with “This is How We Got Here,” by Keith Barker, a member of the Metis Nation of Ontario. The play won numerous awards after its premiere in Canada, and gets its first performance in the U.S. for the production, directed by NNT artistic director Rhiana Yazzie. The production features a new musical score, commissioned by NNT, by Danielle Jagelski, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Redcliff Band of Ojibwe. The play runs through May 7, Wednesdays, through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. (pay-what-you-can, with the suggested price of $35.) More information here.
Zen philosophy and Buddhism inform Japanese artist Mayumi Amada’s delicately recycled plastic objects in “Once and Forever,” which opens this Friday at the Gordon Parks Gallery at Metro State University. Using plastic bottles, grocery bags, egg cartons and packing foam, Amada uses crochet techniques and other traditional art making as she meditates on the flow of water in works that reflect her heritage and philosophy. The opening reception takes place Friday, April 21 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Gordon Parks Gallery and runs through June 22 (free). More information here.
Returning to Haifa
Pangea World Theater’s presentation of the U.S. Premiere of “Returning to Haifa” follows a history of controversy around stage adaptations of Palestinian author and journalist Ghassan Kanafani’s novela. Among them: Hussam Abu Eishe getting arrested mid-performance in Israel in 1980. More recently, an adaptation of the novela by American playwright Naomi Wallace and Palestinian-American writer Ismail Khalidi was commissioned by the Public Theatre, but the performances were cancelled due to board pressure, according to the Guardian.
The story follows a Palestinian couple, forced to flee their home during the “Nakba” (catastrophe), when three quarters of all Palestinians were forced to flee their homeland. They return 26 years later in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War when the borders are opened, and find their home occupied by Miriam, who had fled Poland after her father was sent to Auschwitz, and her husband. The two families’ lives are entangled in complex and painful ways. Pangea’s artistic director Dipankar Mukherjee directs the production. It runs Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m., then Wednesday, May 3 through Friday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Mixed Blood Theatre ($18). More information here.
Lord Split Me Open
Hailing from North Minneapolis, Cameron Patricia Downey’s career has been soaring in the past few years, showing work in Germany, New Zealand, New York, and Minnesota. During that time, Downey’s work has been shown a number of times with Hair + Nails gallery, both in their Minneapolis location and at art festivals around the U.S. Now, Downey gets their first major solo show with the gallery, “Lord Split Me Open,” takes place over all the rooms in the south Minneapolis gallery. With photography, video, and sculpture, Downey looks at the squishiness of truth in regard to memory and the way we document history. The opening reception takes place Saturday, April 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hair + Nails, with the show running through May 28 (free). More information here.
An Evening with Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba
Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate has played with legends like Bonnie Raitt, Bono, Taj Mahal, and has won over fans through the magic he creates with his Ngoni, a lute-like instrument of which Kouyate is a master. His band, Ngoni Ba is playing at the Cedar Cultural Center, fresh off their recent show at the Big Ears Festival, where Kouyate performed with Bela Fleck. Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. at the Cedar ($27 in advance, $32 day of show). More information here.