A previous Little Asia Market Pop-up event. Credit: Little Asia Market Pop-up

The Twin Cities arts scene this weekend offers a range of events celebrating diversity. Learn more about the Little Asia Market Pop-up celebrating Asian American artistry, a children’s art exhibition showcasing the work of young Somali artists, and a traditional Japanese dance workshop featuring the Uraja dance. 

A locally produced and directed documentary about opioid addiction in the East African community will also be screened Friday.

A previous Little Asia Market Pop-up event. Credit: Little Asia Market Pop-up

Little Asia Market Pop-up 

Little Asia Market (L.A.M.) Pop-up is set to make its return for a third year, this time in St. Paul. The event serves as a platform to celebrate and promote the work of 17 artists, makers, and small businesses. Attendees can explore a diverse array of products, ranging from jewelry to cross-stitch artwork and beauty products. Participants will also have the opportunity to register for networking activities and hands-on workshops. 

In an interview with Sahan Journal, event organizer Wone Vang shared insights into the origins and evolution of Little Asia Market. 

“It was at a time where there were a lot of Asian hate crimes happening throughout the nation,” Vang said of when the pop-up was created. “So, we wanted the opportunity to kind of let people know that we stand together as an Asian American community.”

Vang saw the importance of creating a supportive community where Asian American artists can thrive after realizing that artists from diverse backgrounds were underrepresented in many craft shows. Little Asia Market offers an opportunity for artists to connect, showcase their work, and engage with a diverse audience, she said. 

Vang is also the co-creator of Third Daughter, Restless Daughter, an embroidery art shop that pays homage to her Hmong heritage. Vang and her sister, Youa Vang, aim to challenge expectations and explore non-traditional themes and messages through their artwork, which is rooted in Hmong-inspired embroidery passed down by their grandmother. They embrace the opportunity to step outside their cultural boundaries and express their personal perspectives. Visitors can see their artistry firsthand at the Little Asia Market this Sunday. 

“I say that we test the waters for being non-traditional,” Vang said. “As soon as people see that we’re Hmong, they look at our work and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, I could see the influence of Hmong traditional embroidery.’ Like no, not really… We could step outside of who we are to express what we feel.”

Date: Sunday, July 9, 2023

Time: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Spinning Wylde, 214 4th St. E. #140 St. Paul, Minnesota 55101

Cost: Free to attend. Regististation required for workshops and a networking hour at 11 a.m.

For more information: Contact event organizer Wone Vange at 3drdcrafts@gmail.com 

“I wonder…” A Soomaal Kids Art Exhibition Credit: Soomaal House of Art

“I Wonder…” Soomaal Kids Art Exhibition 

Soomaal House of Art is hosting the “I Wonder…” Soomaal Kids Art Exhibition, featuring a collection of artwork created by four young Somali artists age 4 to 11. The artists received two canvases and painting materials to express themselves.

“Our Soomaal team were inspired by the questions the young artists had upon seeing other exhibitions at the gallery,” said Mohamud Mumin, curator and co-founder of Soomaal House of Art. “Their response to art has almost always begun with the comment, ‘I wonder…,’ hence the title.” 

Date: Saturday, July 8, 2023, through July 22, 2023 

Time: Opening reception at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 5p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  

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

Cost: Free. Reserve a spot here. 

For more information: Email event organizers at info@soomaalhouse.com.

Yosakoi Dance Workshop at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in 2022. Credit: Steven Hoffman

Summer Festival Dance Workshop: Bringing Japanese Summer to the Sculpture Garden

Experience the Uraja dance at a family-friendly workshop in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across from the Walker Art Center. The event is open to individuals of all skill levels. Participants can learn the Uraja dance, a regional dance from Japan, led by instructor Maria Traxler from the Kizuna International Yosakoi dance team. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement. 

Date: Sunday, July 9, 2023 

Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Location: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 725 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403

Cost: Free, but registration is required. Register here.

For more information: Email event organizers at  jasm@mn-japan.org.

Filmmaker and Director Mohamed Shayk in his production studio the day before his latest film, “The Forgotten Ones,” premiers at The Main Cinema in Minneapolis. Credit: Aaron Nesheim | Sahan Journal

“The Forgotten Ones” documentary screening

Generation Hope and the MSP Film Society is hosting a screening of the documentary, “The Forgotten Ones,” during Somali Week. The locally produced and directed film examines opioid addiction in the East African community.

The filmmakers will participate in a conversation after the screening. 

Date: Friday, July 7

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: The Main Cinema, 115 S.E. Main St., Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cost: $15

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