Anderson Center event features artist Gita GheiAn eclectic evening of art, education and entertainment is planned Friday in celebration of the “World in Arms” display at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
An eclectic evening of art, education and entertainment is planned Friday in celebration of the “World in Arms” display at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
The exhibition, which explores the relationship between art, war and activism, spotlights works by Gita Ghei. It also features paintings and drawings, photographs, sculptures, reliefs and poetry — all addressing the peace movement theme — by six other individuals.
The seven artists will meet with the public during a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Tower View gallery.
At 7 p.m., Dr. Corine Wegener will talk about her efforts to preserve cultural resources around the world when they are threatened by war or natural disaster.
After her presentation, Billy Curmano — known as Billy X — will present a performance piece titled “Midnight Babylon,” about an artist and his sleepless night ruminating on the horrors and humor of war, television and life in general.
The event will close with a jazz-style concert by Curmano’s band, Free X, in the center’s café. Instrumentation will include saxophone, flute and oboe; drums; bass; and vibraphone, electric dulcimer, mbira and water harp.
Ghei, who curated the show, is a sculptor, patina artist and educator. She has explored social and political concerns in her artwork, and was inspired to create this exhibit by her father’s experiences as a young man.
He was a student protester during the Partition of India, a violent political action in 1947. He ultimately immigrated to the United States, attended the University of Minnesota and met and married Johanna Anderson of Red Wing.
Ghei did not know her father well, as he died when she was young. She wants to know what it was like for him as a young man and understand why he felt compelled to protest.
“I never got to ask my dad,” she said.
Realizing that “Our country has been at war now for over a decade” — since 2001, when her own daughter was born — also was a compelling factor in her decision to explore the peace movement through art.
Ghei was granted a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to complete some work that was in process and to create four interactive sculptural pieces based on the four elements: earth, fire, water and air. The installation is titled “Witness.”
Candles are lighted on “Sun Sign Nuclear DU (depleted uranium).” Another piece, “Where It Stops Nobody Knows” is a roulette wheel that spins a cup of oil. Viewers are invited to place a memory stone on a wooden structure, and to pop balloons on the final piece.
“This show was a new move for me in my art to use less metal and more bio-degradable and found materials, like wood, wax, and impermanent materials like water,” Ghei noted.
Ghei, who studied archeology in college, also is showing a series of drawings she made of artifacts that were looted from the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad in 2003 (see related story), and some other metal works.
As part of creating her installation, Ghei interviewed several veterans and peace activists to learn about their life experiences, including Vietnam War vet Bruce Berry and Gulf War vet Chante Wolf, both Minnesotans.
She learned that they also are artists.
“I realized this was a great opportunity to show other artwork on this theme,” Ghei said.
She expanded the exhibition to include their work, plus poetry by Dr. David Harris of Red Wing and artwork by former Minnesota Ann Mohler from Colorado Springs, Colo., Joel Pieper of Minneapolis and Matt Quinn of Red Wing.
If you go…
What: “World in Arms” reception, talk and concert
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday April 13
Where: Anderson Center at Tower View
More info: 651-388-2009 or www.andersoncenter.org