September has international flavor at Tower ViewA best-selling author from Iraq, a calligrapher from China, a historian/biographer from California, a sculptor from Hawaii and a writer from Ohio with roots in art are spending September in residence at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
A best-selling author from Iraq, a calligrapher from China, a historian/biographer from California, a sculptor from Hawaii and a writer from Ohio with roots in art are spending September in residence at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
They comprise “a highly expert group,” director Robert Hedin said, adding, “Each of them as a big story to tell.”
Among those story tellers is Samuel Shimon, who comes to Tower View for the month as part of “Beirut39.”
The Anderson Center is one of 39 artist communities around the world that were chosen to participate in “Beirut39,” a program established in the wake of 9/11 by the National Alliance of Artist Communities.
“This program … is designed to advance the literary careers of emerging and established Arab writers,” Hedin said. “It is also designed as a program to promote cultural understanding among Western and Middle Eastern nations.”
Born into an Assyrian family in Iraq in 1959, Samuel Shimon left his country in 1979, hoping to become a Hollywood filmmaker. In 1985 he settled in Paris as a refugee and in 1996 he moved to London, where he now lives.
Shimon founded Banipal, an international magazine of contemporary Arab literature in English translation, edited a collection of works by Arab poets, established a literary website and published a best-selling autobiographical novel. He is deeply involved in other Arabic writing projects.
While in Red Wing he will work on a new novel, “Underwear Under-War or the Militant Lingerie,” about life and sex during the civil war in Lebanon in the late 1970s.
Wanling Sun, who has been teaching art at Shandong Polytechnic University in China for 19 years, has expertise in painting and calligraphy in addition photography and fashion design. He has taught a wide range of courses at universities and organizations in many cities in China.
He has written several books, most recently “The Art of Purple Sand Sculpture,” published this year, and his work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, winning numerous awards.
Community service: Red Wing High School
Patricia Miye Wakida
Patricia Miye Wakida from Los Angeles, Calif., will spend the month focusing on her work in progress, a biography of Shigeyoshi Murao, a character who was a part of the “beat generation” during San Francisco’s cultural heyday of the 1950s-60s. Co-owner and manager of the famed City Lights Bookstore for more than 20 years, “Shig” stood trial beside Lawrence Ferlinghetti in a nationally publicized, landmark literary case.
Part of his story involves years spent in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Wakida researched a future exhibition about the camps for the Japanese-American National Museum and continues to write for the Densho encyclopedia project, “Discover Nikkei” and LA’s last daily Japanese-American newspaper.
Community service: Goodhue County History Center presentation on Sept. 27
A native of Rochester, Minn., Susan O’Malley went to Hawaii to study elementary education and has been teaching children in Kapa’au, Hawaii, since 1998. Her artwork begins with making dyes and paper, which she uses to create honeycomb sculptures.
While at Tower View she plans to collect black walnuts and local plants to use in making dyes and pulp for new sculptures and paper sheets for a sample book. By the end of the month she plans to complete a one-of-a-kind research book.
Community service: Lake City High School
A writer from Columbus, Ohio, Ann Starr studied English and life drawing. Her artwork has been used to illustrate lectures involving medical research and mental health topics. Several years ago she set aside painting to devote herself to writing — especially writing the ideas and emotions art evokes; currently she writes a blog of art and music reviews.
While in Red Wing, Starr plans to do some autobiographical writing about a recent trip to Africa, relationships between parents and children and her need for art and a creative community.
Community service: Red Wing Women’s Network