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This Is Ours

A one day, outdoor exhibition in the SE corner Lake Hiawatha Park, September 8, SUNRISE TO SUNSET, opening ceremony 6-8pm 

All art work will be or happen near the water’s edge between where Minnehaha creek enters and exists Lake Hiawatha (south side of the Lake). Featuring the art of Sean Connaughty, Erica Spitzer Rasmussen, Mayumi Amada, Presley Martin and John Schuerman

This Is Ours: Our Park, Our Lake, Our Trash

Visitors to Lake Hiawatha look out over the Lake and enjoy spectacular sunsets, frolicking wildlife, and glistening waves. If however, their eyes wander down to the nearby shoreline they find trash, festering garbage, and dead wildlife in plain view. This is ours: our lake, our park, our pollution. The pollution is ours not just because the lake is public domain, but because if you live in the Lake Hiawatha watershed (from Lake street to Lake Hiawatha and east/west from 28th Ave to Park Ave), some of your trash and toxins have almost certainly been carried down the storm sewers that flow directly (unfiltered) into the lake.

This exhibition is being produced to celebrate the natural beauty of Lake Hiawatha Park and to use contemporary art to raise awareness/stimulate collective action that helps the Lake (call your park board commissioners and ask them to support a pollution mitigation system!). Like many things in life, there is beauty and death.  Our idyllic landscape is there but our lake is polluted, no longer safe to swim in.

The artwork and events will all be site-specific responses to both the natural wonders and the trash washing up on the shores. In its broadest form the exhibit is about time and material, the constituents of any landscape.  In this specific landscape the artists will install art, perform and guide activities to facilitate relationship with nonhuman nature and reckon with the contaminating shucks of commercial society. You will find contemporary art that looks back from the future to anthropologically predict what our society was like; that juxtaposes the concepts of garden lifetime with plastic lifetime; that decorates the earth with Styrofoam; that engages you in papermaking from park materials; that celebrates the sun the earth and the water; and that that allows you to participate in ritual to affect your appreciation of space and time but leave nature undisturbed.

This project was inspired by the art and activism of Sean Connaughty who for the past 3 years has worked tirelessly to produce art that engages the local community to save Lake Hiawatha.


About the Artists:

Sean Connaughty has been working knee-deep in the edge water of Minneapolis’s Lake Hiawatha extracting the trash that pollutes the Lake. He has collected, catalogued, traced the origins of, and fabricated stories about, the human beings that created this mess. He is both activist and artist, hoping to sway public policy makers to implement a pollution mitigation system for the park. Currently he is working on designs for public art projects that could work in conjunction with the mitigation system.

Mayumi Amada is an installation, textile and sculpture artist who repurposes objects and materials into statements about nature, the cycles of life, eternity, beauty and Buddhist philosophy. For this exhibit she will work with recyclable plastics from consumer products that can be found in any convenience store, or in Lake Hiawatha.

Erica Spitzer Rasmussen is a papermaker and sculptor whose work explores issues of identity and corporeality.  For this exhibit she will present a Pop-Up Paper Shop –a mobile papermaking station (a tent with digital graphics) that is stocked with supplies and equipment (such as pre-beaten paper fibers, a collapsible table, molds and deckles, tubs, etc.). Visitors will be invited to make free sheets of decorative paper derived from local plant species at Lake Hiawatha, such as rhubarb, Hosta, cattail, daylily and iris.

Presley Martin questions commonly held assumptions about the environment. His work begins with many hours of direct field observations before producing sculptures, installations, photographs and performances. For this exhibition he will produce an installation from found Styrofoam and other lake trash.

John Schuerman draws, but also strays into other media such as installation and performance as he tries to place human ideas and constructs within the natural order.  For this exhibit he will encourage visitors to reckon with the wonders of being alive (time, space, matter, mortality) and the price of living in a fouled environment.

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