The collaborative, international project, 122 Conversations continues its journey to the five sister cities of Duluth encouraging cross cultural dialogue and serving as a catalyst for positive social change, the radical political act of caring. The project, led by artist Anne Labovitz is based on the art of engagement — art derived from the process of interconnection and cross-cultural dialogue. Organized by the Tweed Museum of Art and in collaboration with Duluth Sister Cities, International and University of Minnesota Duluth, School of Fine Arts, the project celebrates the combined 122 years of relationship with Duluth’s five sister Cities: Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan, Växjö, Sweden, Petrozavodsk, Russia, Thunder Bay, Canada and Ohara-Isumi City, Japan.
Two of the planned six exhibitions ran concurrently in early 2017, the first in Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan. The entire exhibition was created on lightweight Tyvek® and packed in a single suitcase and hand carried by DSCI delegate Michelle Obed to Rania. The project opened on January 16 at the University of Raparin during a well attended event and continued through the end of March. ‘Choices’, an engagement piece to be included in all locations, contributes conversations from citizens of each city in the form of drawings or words on colorful tiles created by Labovitz. These tiles from all 5 cities will travel to Duluth, be added to the ones contributed by citizens of Duluth and be on display for the culminating event in the Fall of 2018. In addition to Michelle Obed, DSCI delegates who traveled to Iraq include Gale Kerns, Jeri Kerns, Koresh Lakhan and Jill Lakhan.
Labovitz was on hand for the opening at the Växjö Konsthall in Växjö, Sweden on March 4, 2017 as well as DSCI delegate Alison Aune, PHD Area Chair in Art Education. In the days following the Växjö opening, Labovitz facilitated multiple workshops every day. These workshops continued even after her departure facilitated by local art and education professionals. Children, students, adults and new immigrant families to Sweden all contributed to the engagement piece, ‘Choices’ in their unique ways. The exhibition concluded on April 3, 2017. In addition to Alison Aune, DSCI delegates who traveled to Sweden were Terese Tomanek, Gary Anderson, Gary Boelhower, John Schmidt, Chelly Townsend and Patti Maguire.
The next opening will be held in Petrozavodsk, Russia. The exhibition is slated to open May 25 and continue through June 17, 2017 at Petrozavodsk City Exhibition Hall. The site specific pieces are currently in production by Labovitz and will again be hand carried into the country by an ambassador identified by DSCI delegate, Dan Nolan, Assistant Professor Foreign Languages and Literature, at the University of MN.
Tentative future dates for Ohara Isumi-City and Duluth are October 2017 and Fall of 2018, respectively. 122 Conversations had its inaugural opening in 2015 in Thunder Bay at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
Press from 122 Conversations:
Växjöbladet, March 15, 2017
Smålandsposten, March 4, 2017
Press Release, February 2017
Duluth News Tribune, February 3, 2017
Duluth News Tribune, January 12, 2017
Artful Living Magazine, January 2017
KUMD Radio Interview, January 3, 2017
The Walleye, October 2015
Duluth News Tribune, September 11, 2015
Thunder Bay News, September 10, 2015
WDIO, September 8, 2015
WDIO, July 4, 2015
WDIO, July 3, 2015
Fox 21, July 2, 2015
Connect with the project!