Happy Spring! Thank you for receiving my news every month! This month, I am especially excited to share the recent installation of my international project, 122 Conversations
! Recently exhibited in Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan
, the project opened in Växjö, Sweden
on March 4. The exhibitions ran concurrently, sharing cross cultural dialogue and serving as a catalyst for positive social change, the radical political act of caring.After 4 years of planning and many Skype conversations, accompanying the exhibition and meeting the wonderful people in Växjö was thrilling. Traveling with me was a Duluth delegation celebrating 122 Conversations
and the 30 years as a sister city
with Växjö. I was both humbled and honored to be a part of this group that was warmly welcomed by Växjö city representatives including Bo Frank, Lord Mayor & Chairman of the Municipal Council, Monica Sandberg, First Secretary to the Mayor’s Office and Sister Cities Coordinator, and current mayor Anna Tenje.
Included in the traveling delegation was University of Minnesota Duluth, Alison Aune, PHD Area Chair in Art Education. Alison, having strong professional and personal ties to Sweden, was instrumental in planning workshops and creating an opportunity for us to work with recently arrived refugees. Heartfelt thank you to Alison Aune, the staff at Växjö Konsthall and its newly appointed director, Filippa de Vos and the entire Duluth delegation. Each one of them helped make the opening and corresponding events alive and filled with connections! Thank you to Michele Obed, the people of Rania and the delegation from Duluth for transporting, installing and creating the energy and excitement around 122 Conversations in Rania.
In the days following the Växjö opening, multiple workshops were held every day over two weeks (seen in photos above). Children, students, adults and new immigrant families to Sweden all contributed to the engagement piece, ‘Choices’ in their unique ways. Their contributions, as well as those from all 6 sister cities, will travel to Duluth to be included in the final exhibition. The momentum and human connection created within this exhibition along with the educational components have ignited a fire in me to reach out even further. The workshops with refugees in particular inspire and encourage me to continue my message of inclusion and human dignity and to foster a creative space for voice.
What’s next for 122 Conversations? Petrozavodsk, Russia! I am busy in the studio creating a site specific installation for the fourth city exhibition scheduled for May 25th through June 17th at Petrozavodsk City Exhibition Hall. I am excited! Thanks to Dan Nolan, Assistant Professor Foreign Languages and Literature, who has identified an ambassador to hand carry the entire exhibition in a Tyvek® travel bag to Petrozavodsk. I am looking forward to Skype-ing with the citizens of Petrozavodsk during these dates to facilitate engagement pieces. Updates on openings and images will be forthcoming!