In your own words, how would you tell the story of who you are and how you fit in a mosaic of interconnected communities? How might members of diverse communities convene and listen to stories such as these?
Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the value of listening and what it means to honor others’ voices. The impetus for my introspection is a new partnership that the Walker has entered into with the Islamic Resource Group (IRG). I’ve been working closely with IRG staff to welcome their traveling exhibition, Tracks in the Snow, to the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery.
Tracks in the Snow conveys the experiences of Minnesota Muslims through photographic portraits and texts containing personal narratives. What I’ve gained from my involvement in this project is a deeper reverence for the stories we all carry with us—the family histories and unfinished mythologies we use to interpret and reinforce our relationships to family, faith, and home. It is one thing to have a concept of how Minnesota is interconnected with cultures from around the globe. It is a greater thing to hear voices express that in their own words.
“What it means to be Muslim in Minnesota, to me, would be similar to what it means to be a Christian in Minnesota, a construction worker in Minnesota, a high school football player in Minnesota. There’s going to be such a wide range of experiences. And yet I think as you cut across that wide range of experiences, there will be a consistent feeling—I think—a genuine sense of opportunity and community that exists here in Minnesota that is very much unlike any other place in the country.”—Nehrwr Abdul-Wahid
“Just because I’m Muslim doesn’t mean I’m living a totally different life, even in Minnesota. I’m doing the same things—I bring out my boots, I shovel the driveway, I gotta scrape my car. You know, we’re all doing the same thing and we all appreciate the same things.”—Nora Sadek
“As a Muslim we have to face the reality that we are Americans, we are the product of where we live.” . . . “And you can practice any religion you believe or not practice a religion and you can still be accepted among other Americans.” —Abdiwahab Ali
You can listen to these and other voices, presented in podcast like episodes, at IRG’s website for the Muslim Experience in Minnesota. Starting this Thursday at 5 pm, Tracks in the Snow will be on view during normal gallery hours and is free to all visitors for its entire run, ending Friday, August 8. To acknowledge this new partnership with IRG as well as the Eid holiday, the Walker is pleased to host a community reception on Saturday, August 2 from 1–4 pm in the Medtronic Gallery and Terrace.