Art Exhibit Includes Works By Cross-Cultural Female Artists

By Alicia Eler
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The majority of the artists in this all-female show are also immigrants to the U.S., either by choice or through forced migration.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

It’s never too late to change careers completely.

Aritst Nina Ghanbarzadeh noticed that many of the artists she curated into the 10-person group exhibition “I Contain Multitudes,” which features four Minneapolis-based artists, had this experience.

The show is currently on view at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design through March 9.

“I wanted to highlight the importance of artmaking and highlight the power that art provides to the female artist,” said Ghanbarzadeh. “All of us found our voices through artmaking.”

The majority of the artists in this all-female show are also immigrants to the U.S., either by choice or through forced migration. On a daily basis, they’ll deal with cross-cultural identity, translation, and code-switching. In fact, Minnesota is home to nearly half a million immigrants, with foreign-born immigrants making up 8.7 percent of the state’s population.

On Thurs., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., Minneapolis artists Fawzia Khan and Hend Al-Mansour will lead a discussion on the experience and challenges of being a part of two cultures at the Frederick Layton Gallery (273 E Erie St., Milwaukee, WI 53202)

Minneapolis-based painter/mapmaker Susan Armington grew up on the East Coast, but married a Japanese man and lived abroad. Her artwork considers travel, maps and language in relation to a dreamlike landscape.
Kimberlee Joy Roth brings a mathematical background to her sculptural ceramics work.

Based in Minneapolis, she is a 2016 recipient of an artist initiative grant and a 2013 McKnight Artist Fellow.

Minneapolis artist Fawzia Khan was born in Nigeria to Pakistani parents, and grew up speaking English, Urdu and French. Trained as a doctor, she transitioned to art, particularly making “soft sculpture,” after the birth of her son. She married a Minnesotan who she met at work.

Somali refugee, Muslim, Black, American multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour’s charged performance artwork speaks directly to her experience of forced migration to the U.S. talks about containing multitudes through her forced migration to the U.S. A fixture around the Twin Cities, she has shown at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Rochester Art Center.

Her one-woman show “How to Have Fun in a Civil War,” which has been produced at the Guthrie and continues to tour, explores her childhood memories of the 1991 Somali Civil War. “I do the work that I do so that someday, others with my background, others that look like me don’t have to wake up every day in order to contemplate if they want to live that day, or fight in order to live for that day,” she said in a YouTube video produced for the exhibition.

Minneapolis artist Hend Al-Mansour is a 2018/19 McKnight visual art fellow, and the recipient of a 2019 Minnesota State Art Board grant. She grew up in Saudi Arabia, attended college in Cairo, Egypt, and then practiced medicine for 17 years in her country of origin. But she left it all behind to get an MFA in art and become a fulltime artist.

“My art is about injustice, especially gender injustice, and sexual orientation injustice,” she said. Al-Mansour makes screenprints on large sheets of paper of fabric, often times employing bright, lively colors, busy composition, Arab calligraphy, Henna design, geometric design, and local womens’ designs from Saudi Arabia. Her work is often installation, with corridors, decorated niches (called “mihrab”) in mosque architecture) and rooms.

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