"Create the world you wish to live in" by Jigzart for Illumination exhibit at Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center on August 19, 2023. Credit: Jaali Griffin

Explore the Twin Cities’ art scene this weekend with Afrocentric glow-in-the-dark art, a monarch butterfly tapestry celebration, multimedia art exploring Somali women’s experiences, and an open mic night. 

Illumination Exhibition

Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center will host the “Illumination” exhibit, showcasing glow-in-the-dark Afrocentric artwork by Jaali Griffin, also known by his artist pseudonym, Jigzart. The exhibition marks Griffin’s inaugural display, encompassing a collection of nine art pieces that he began nearly a decade ago during his high school years. 

The centerpiece of this exhibit is the piece, “Create the World You Wish to Live In,” which stems from an encounter Griffin had with law enforcement while attempting to enter his school’s art building. Griffin said that despite having valid identification for entry, he was unjustly regarded as a trespasser. The artwork serves as a reflection of Griffin’s personal experiences growing up in Georgia and navigating life as a Black man in the United States. 

Griffin’s artistic style lies in his affinity for juxtaposing light and darkness, incorporating vibrant neon hues, and urban skylines. He said he wants attendees to “be the light they wish to see in this dark world.” 

Date: Friday, September 1 through Saturday, September 23, 2023

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Location: Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, 788 E. 7th St., St. Paul, Minnesota 55106. 

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit https://indigenous-roots.org/calendar or call 651-395-7145. 

The Blooming Lotus Flower Exhibition and Open Mic Night

Soomaal House of Art is hosting “The Blooming Lotus Flower” exhibition, exploring Somali womanhood, sisterhood, community, and faith. Created by Khadija Charif, the project utilizes photographs, poetry, and audio to mirror Khadija’s real-world experiences. Her multimedia collection offers a reflection on the intricate dynamics between mothers and daughters. 

The gallery’s layout is divided into two sections. One area welcomes the general public, while the other, visually enclosed, is an exclusive space for women from the Somali community. This partition serves as an opportunity for women to engage intimately with personal facets of their own stories, memories, and lived experiences. 

To further the dialogue, Soomaal House of Art will also host an open mic night Friday. Attendees are encouraged to share their own poetry and stories, contributing to the conversation sparked by the exhibition. 

Date: Open mic night is Friday, September 1, 2023. The exhibition runs from September 2 through September 23, 2023 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 

Time: Open mic night is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Exhibition hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Location: Soomaal House of Art, 2200 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

Cost: Free. Register here. 

For more information: Visit https://www.soomaalhouse.com/ or email info@soomaalhouse.com

Monarch Tapestry Project Celebration 

ArtStart, a nonprofit integrating art with environmental, cultural, and educational issues, will present a collection of community-created monarch butterfly tapestries. 

In collaboration with the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge and Bloomington Civic Center, ArtStart invited Latino families and community members to create monarch butterflies, which will be displayed at the event. Peruvian artist Gustavo Boada and Anishinabe artist Julie Boada guided participants in using applique, embroidery, and dry felting techniques to create their butterflies. 

This family-friendly event offers food, an opportunity to meet the participating artists, and interactive activities, including monarch tagging. 

Date: Saturday, September 2 

Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington, Minnesota 55425

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit https://artstart.org/ or call 651-698-2787. 

Myah Goff is an intern at Sahan Journal, currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.