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This week's must-see art shows

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This Earth of ours is a vast, beautiful place. And somehow we are all connected to each other, and to the plants, trees, rocks, and rivers that are our neighbors. This weekend boasts several shows featuring artists pondering our role as humans in the anthropocene era. There's also a great art and fashion event featuring Hmong designers and artists, as part of Fashion Week MN.  Rodrigo Oñate's Opening Reception

Where it’s at: Altered Esthetics at the Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Self-taught, Mexican-born artist Rodrigo Oñate shares his colorful and rich artwork at a solo show at the Southern Theater, which in January became the official home of Altered Esthetics Gallery. In this body of work, Oñate reminds us to reconnect with each other as humans and with the Earth.

Why you should go: Two years ago, when Ae closed its doors at the Q.arma Building in northeast Minneapolis, the gallery began experimenting with pop-up exhibitions. Since January of this year, Ae has found a permanent home at the Southern, where the art can be seen in the lobby of the theater before performances. This Friday’s opening takes place prior to ARENA Dances’ TWITCH, so make a night of it with beautiful art and dancing.

When: 5-7 p.m. Friday. 

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"Botanica" Opening Reception

Where it’s at: Light Grey Art Lab, 118 E. 26th St., Ste. 101, Minneapolis. 

What it’s about: This enormous show features 125 artists, illustrators, designers, and photographers from around the world, all inspired by nature. Exploring the origins, history, science, and culture of the Earth, the artists embrace the beauty and mystery of our planet through their art.

Why you should go: You might be noticing a common theme that keeps cropping up among the art world as of late. The very real consequences of human-caused environmental problems are a threat that everyone on Earth should take seriously, but artists in particular are well positioned to speak to our precious relationship with our planet through a variety of methods. Come see what the artists of “Botanical” have to say about the Earth at this intriguing show.

When: 7-10 p.m. Friday. Exhibition on view through May 13.

Rooted: Fashion, Art, Food

Where it’s at: Public Functionary, 1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. 

What it’s about: Fashion Week MN festivities continues this weekend at Public Functionary, where Hmong designers show off their stuff at an event that celebrates their cultural heritage and cutting edge styles. The event includes live hair and makeup demonstrations, delicious food, art installations, and music, plus fashions by designers Maisee Heurh, Oskar Ly, Khamphian Vang, Xee Vang, and Lylena Yang.

Why You Should Go: Since 2006, the Fresh Traditions Fashion Show, put together by the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), has featured original work by designers rooted in the fabrics used in traditional Hmong clothing. This Fresh Traditions experience gives visitors a chance to see the inner workings of these creatives at work, and a chance to shop select pieces.

When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday. $10 advanced tickets/$15 at the door.

"At a Loss"

Where it’s at: Island Gallery, 2222 1/2 E. 35th St., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: During a residency in Gullkistan, Iceland, artist Sarita Zaleha created a series of temporary installations using a net she created out of torn strips of fabric, which she then photographed. At the Island Gallery, Zaleha will show these ruminations on the current state of the environment, along with security envelope collages and paper weavings that further explore how capitalism has contributed to climate change.

Why you should go: This is Zaleha’s first solo show, and a chance to see the work she created while exploring glacial landscapes in Iceland. See the artist’s take on what connects us to the natural world and the networked systems that are tearing our world apart.

When: 6 p.m. Saturday