The celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day continues this weekend with the opening of “Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh” at All My Relations Gallery, a collaboration between two Native artists based on opposite sides of the Mississippi. Also this week, Luis Fitch guides viewers into the process of rethinking the Minnesota state flag, which is getting a reboot. Over at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum, emerging artist Shea Maze creates art from his grandmother’s gourds, and at Illusion Theater, three playwrights from the African diaspora share their work. This week, come in with a hungry reading appetite to Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival, and next Wednesday, pianist Rami Khalifé heads to the Cedar for a film/performance of “Lost/Return to Beirut.”
‘Aabijijiwan / Ukeyat yanalleh’
Artists Karen Goulet (Ojibwe) and Monique Verdin (Houma) join forces for a collaborative exhibition whose title translates to “The Water Flows Continuously.” The two artists are based on either end of the Mississippi River — called Misi-ziibi (Big River) in Ojibwe and “Misha sipokni” (Older than Time) in Chata (a language also known as Choctaw). Beginning in 2019, the two artists embarked on a project — in collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station at the Mississippi headwaters, the Weisman Art Museum and Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods — that aimed to consider the river as a way of knowing.
Through an interdisciplinary exploration of storytelling and conversation, the two artists reflected the two artists and their communities’ connection to the waterway. An opening reception for the new exhibition takes place Thursday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m., with a workshop taking place Saturday, Oct. 4, and Sunday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (free). More information here.
Deconstructing the Minnesota flag with Luis Fitch
You may know of Luis Fitch as the artist who designed a Día de los Muertos USPS stamp. He’s also responsible for the colorful brand design of La Doña Cervecería in Minneapolis as well as a number of public art displays in the Twin Cities in recent years. Now, the artist takes on the Minnesota flag in an exhibition that exercises branding and design ideas ahead of the deadline for Minnesota to adopt its new state seal by Jan. 1, 2024. Fitch is one of the 13 appointed members of the State Emblems Redesign Commission established in the 2023 legislative session. The opening reception takes place Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the show runs through Dec. 18 at North Hennepin Community College (free). More information here.
Grandma’s Garden at the African American Heritage Museum and Gallery
Shea Maze, an emerging artist from south Minneapolis, opens his first solo show this week, after being in residence at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. To create the work in the show, the artist has been in collaboration with his grandmother, using gourds from her garden he found dried, cured and stored in her garage. For each sculpture, Maze has lovingly restored each gourd, and dyed them using dyes made from plants in the garden. The exhibition — which speaks to family, lineage, and connection to land and nature, opens Oct. 13 and runs through Dec. 2. The opening reception takes place Friday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. at MAAHMG (free). More information here.
The Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival
A fully staged production, two staged readings and a roundtable discussion are in store at the Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival at Illusion Theater this week, featuring playwrights from the African diaspora. Each of the playwrights participated in an artist residency in the south of France, hosted by the Camargo Foundation, with the aim to support narratives from the perspective of the African diaspora community. Carlyle Brown, the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright-in-Residence at Illusion, co-curated the Cultural Diaspora Residency along with Nigeria-based playwright Chuck Mike, and they also co-curated the festival.
Brown directs the world premiere of “We Take Care of Our Own,” written by Zainabu Jallo starring Richard Ooms, Warren C. Bowles and Stan Egi. Performances are Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct 14, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. with a run through Oct. 29 ($10-60). Also as part of the festival are staged readings of “My Soul is not Rested,” by Cassandra Medley” and “Red Dragon” by Tonderai Munyevu, on Saturday, Oct. 14, at noon and 3 p.m. respectively, and a roundtable discussion on Sunday, Oct. 15, following the 2 p.m. matinee of “We Take Care of Our Own.” (More information here.)
Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival
Catch the literary buzz of the new books coming out this season at Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival. Load up on your winter reading list with deals galore, hear discussions and readings, get your favorite books signed, and mix and mingle with the Minnesota reading community. The festival kicks off with an opening night party on Friday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Black Forest Inn ($25) and continues Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Fair Grounds (free). More information here.
An Evening with Rami Khalifé: Lost/Return to Beirut
At the Cedar Cultural Center next Wednesday, a biopic film about Lebanese pianist and composer Rami Khalifé returning to his homeland after being forced to leave as a child gets a live accompaniment by the composer. The hybrid film/live performance features the film by filmmaker Francois Rousseau and the photography of war photojournalist Jamal Saidi. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Cedar ($27 advanced, $32 day of show). More information here.