"Akberhmet," a photograph by Haley Friesen, is part of the Public Functionary's exhibition, “Currents: A Juried Photography & Moving Image Exhibition.” Credit: Courtesy of Haley Friesen

The Twin Cities art scene this weekend spotlights the photographic and moving images of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists.

Or attend a DJ competition featuring a blend of house and Afrobeat music hosted by BeBe Zahara Benet, winner of season one of RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

“Floating,” a photograph by Amaya Peña, is part of the Public Functionary’s exhibition, “Currents: A Juried Photography & Moving Image Exhibition.” Credit: Courtesy of Amaya Peña

A Photography and Moving Image Exhibition 

Public Functionary will host “Currents: A Juried Photography & Moving Image Exhibition,” featuring the work of 36 artists centered on the theme “movement.” 

The exhibition marks Public Functionary’s first call for submissions from artists. The show was curated by a panel of jurors that included photographer and filmmaker Ryan Stopera, documentary photographer Drew Arrieta, and visual artist Rhianna Hajduch

“We tend to just do solo exhibitions, small group shows, or shows with our studio artists,” said Tricia Heuring, a Thai American curator and co-founder of Public Functionary. “So, this was a way to bring a lot more artists into the space to focus on film and moving images.”

“Currents” features photographic works that capture various aspects of movement, from the everyday motions of city life to the impacts of mass migration and social change. The exhibition aims to explore how movement is an integral part of the human experience. 

The exhibition includes photographs from St. Paul artist Thaiphy Phan-Quang that capture social justice moments in the Twin Cities; Latinx artist Gisell Calderón’s work exploring immigration, fashion, and music; Togolese artist Awa Mally’s work spotlighting the lives of Black woman, art from multifaceted designer Ricky Chiang, and more. 

The moving images portion of the exhibition showcases the creations of Kenyan artist Derrick Gichaba, who documents the Twin Cities’ hip hop dance and fashion scene in serial photographs that create the illusion of movement. It also includes Venezuelan filmmaker Sebastian Alfonzo’s exploration of digital and analog moving image making, and cinematography from Nemuel Sereti of Kenya, among others. 

Public Functionary, which was founded in 2012, is an art studio that centers the works of artists who identify as BIPOC, queer, trans, or gender fluid. 

“We’ve been working to make a space for artists that don’t always get seen in other spaces,” Heuring said. “This might be, for some people, their first show, or their first time showing in a gallery. So, we’re really interested in being that opening for people to see themselves validated as artists and for them to feel confident in the work they’re presenting.” 

Date: Thursday, November 9, through Sunday, November 12 

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for Thursday’s opening reception, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Location: Public Functionary, 1500 Jackson St. N.E., Studio 144, Minneapolis

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit https://publicfunctionary.org/

“TV Indians” by Cara Romero, taken in 2017. Credit: Photo provided by the Minneapolis Institute of Art

A Native Photography Exhibition 

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) is hosting the “In Our Hands: Native Photography, 1890 to Now” exhibition, featuring an extensive collection of over 150 photographs capturing the lives and cultures of Indigenous communities through the lens of Native photographers. The exhibition is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by freelance documentary photographer Jaida Grey Eagle in partnership with Mia curators Casey Riley and Jill Ahlberg Yohe, along with a curatorial council of Native artists and academics. 

The exhibition is located in Mia’s 12,000-square-foot Target Gallery and is divided into three thematic sections: “A World of Relations,” “Always Leaders,” and “Always Present.” These sections serve as a platform to explore the connections Native people have with the natural world, their leadership roles in various social issues, and the contributions of Native photographers throughout the past century. 

Highlighted in this exhibition are both historical and contemporary works, including photography by Jennie Ross Cobb, a pioneering Native American female photographer who documented Native leadership and challenges facing the community. Photographer Benjamin Haldane offers insights into Native cultures in the 20th century. Contemporary artist Will Wilson explores modern Indigenous identity and pressing environmental and social issues. Carl Beam’s photography delves into the culture of the Ojibwe community and the tensions between Western and Indigenous relations. 

“In Our Hands” marks Mia’s first exhibition exclusively dedicated to photographs taken of and by Native people. Learn more about the exhibition and Jaida Grey Eagle’s artistic journey here. 

Date: Thursday, November 9, through January 14, 2024 

Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday through Sunday,. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. 

Location: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: General admission $20, free for Contributor Member+ (additional tickets $16), free for youth 17 and under.

For more information: Visit https://new.artsmia.org/

BeBe Zahar Benet (center), a renowned Minneapolis-based drag performer and winner of the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, celebrates at the Sound Unseen Being BeBe afterparty in 2021. Credit: Courtesy of Darin Kamnetz

Drag star BeBe Zahara Benet’s “Bling Ball”

The Lavish Lab, in partnership with Glass House, will host the “BeBe’s Bling Ball”, celebrating the 20th anniversary of BeBe Zahara Benet’s drag performance career. Benet, a renowned Minneapolis-based drag performer and the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Benet’s Bling Ball will feature a DJ battle between Cousin Christopher and DJ Che, with music spanning house and Afrobeat genres. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their most bedazzled and “blingy” outfits. 

A portion of the ticket proceeds will go towards supporting the Roho Collective, an artist collective in the Twin Cities focusing on BIPOC art representation. 

Date: Saturday, November 10 

Time: 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Location: Glass House, 145 Holden St. N. Minneapolis 

Cost: Tickets start at $30. Buy tickets here. For more information: Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bebes-bling-ball-tickets-728432199317#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20Minneapolis%20Mayor%20Jacob,13%20BeBe%20Day%20in%20Minneapolis.

Myah Goff was a summer 2023 intern at Sahan Journal, and is currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.