Artists imagine a world of Afro-futurism technology (and other shows worth your time)

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

With hurricanes, earthquakes, near nuclear war, and other awful things happening around in the world, it’s more important now than ever to fill your soul with art as a coping mechanism. This week has some promising options, featuring both local artists and artists visiting from elsewhere, to help instill some hope for new futures.

Iyapo Repository

Where it’s at: Law Warschaw Gallery, Janet Wallace Fine Art Center, 130 S. Macalester St., St. Paul.

What it’s about: Two New York artists of African descent, Salome Asega and Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, imagine a future centered on black communities where there's a suit designed to give a calming sensation, pills that give black history lessons, and a portable device that alerts its wearer to extra-judicial killings.

Why you should go: Salome Asega and Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde take their Iyapo Repository project, named after the protagonist Lilith Iyapo from Octavia Butler’s Xenogenisis series, into a realm beyond Afro-futurism. Rather than an escapist fantasy, the artists create a future world where black communities can determine their own existence and correct past wrongs. It’s a blueprint for a new future, so step in to find out how it will play out.

When: 6-9 p.m. Friday.

Renewing What They Gave Us

Where it’s at: Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul.

What it’s about: Five Native American artists working in Native arts practices have been a part of a residency program hosted by the Minnesota Historical Society. The artists, who are all part of tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas, will show their work alongside historical items from the museum’s collection.

Why you should go: With Gwen Westerman’s explorations of Dakota ribbon work appliqué, Pat Kruse’s Ojibwe birchbark basketry, Jessica Gokey’s Ojibwe floral beadwork, Denise Lajimodiere’s Ojibwe/Metis birchbark biting, and Dakota floral beadwork by Holly Young, the exhibition will be an opportunity to see contemporary artists engaging in crafts practiced by generations past, finding new life and breath in traditional techniques.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Mexican and Mexican-American Veterans from St. Paul’s West Side

Where it’s at: Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.

What it’s about: Photographer Xavier Tavera honors Mexican and Mexican American veterans in this exhibit at the History Center. If you’re planning on seeing “Renewing What They Gave Us,” it's super convenient to see both shows. This exhibition features veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, all of whom frequent AMVETS Post #5, a place that provides a space for Mexican and Mexican American vets to congregate and socialize.

Why you should go: As a photographer, Xavier Tavera has an intensity when portraying his subjects, expressing the layers of life experience and emotion that go along with being human. See what he’s come up with in working with this group of vets who found comraderie together when other spaces wouldn’t welcome them.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. (Note: It’s museum day, so get your free admission by applying here.)

Beyond the Canvas

Where it’s at: Kolman & Pryor Gallery, Studio 395, Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Kolman & Pryor Gallery presents its first sculpture exhibition this weekend. Curated by co-owner Patrick K. Pryor, the show features work by artists represented by the gallery, including Kate Casanova, Jodi Reeb, and Pryor, as well goes artists Jim Dryden and Betsy Alwin.

Why you should go: It’s good to shake things up every once in a while. Kolman & Pryor often showcases a great mix of painters, sculptors, ceramicists, and installation artists, offering a variety that makes each visit unique. This group show focusing on all the ways artists explore three dimensions is worth checking out.

When: Artists' reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Exhibition runs through October 28.