Mn Artists Presents: Essma Imady
August 23, 5-9 pm
Walker Art Center, Free
The Walker’s platform for local makers, Mn Artists brings its online network live and into the museum. A local artist guest-curates performances, temporary installations, and other projects. Connect with local artists of all disciplines, and engage with the questions driving the MN arts community.
Join guest curator Essma Imady, a Twin Cities–based installation and film artist, to ask: who can art speak for? To investigate the question of representation, artists in Minnesota—including Preston Drum, Leila Awadallah, John Keston, and Niky Motekallem—will each connect with artists in countries affected by the recent travel ban. What is the result of creating an artwork “by proxy”? Can the work by the local artist speak for the artist abroad? Connect with local artists of all disciplines and engage with the questions driving the Minnesota arts community.
About the Artists
Essma Imady grew up in Damascus, Syria, and was dislocated to Minnesota in 2011 where she simultaneously had a daughter and received her MFA from MCAD. Her practice addresses the political aspects of the personal, the formation of identities, and the complicated relation between vision and knowledge.
Preston Drum was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned a BFA from Memphis College of Art in 2006 and an MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2016. Though his past work was focused on creating mixed media paintings, he has recently turned towards a practice of building interactive installations that explore notions of memory and performance through non-linear storytelling. Drum’s work is often site-specific and collaborative in nature, framing the audience as a participant in the art. His work has been exhibited throughout the Midwest and southern United States at venues such as Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art Center. He currently works as an educator and studio artist in the South Metro area of the Twin Cities.
Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer, choreographer and filmmaker based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is in her fifth year as a company member of the touring ensemble Ananya Dance Theatre and a co-creator of the local dance trio Kelvin Wailey. Leila’s work in Arab-American contemporary dance has been performed at the Kennedy Center (2016), BIPOD in Lebanon (2017), and at TPT Studios in St. Paul (2018). She received a SAGE Award (2016) for her outstanding design in film and continues to create short films that articulate environmental and social issues. Through the Soap Factory, Leila and her collaborator Lamia Abukhadra have built installations for performance that explore states of resistance through durational improvisation. This year, she is a recipient of the Jerome Travel + Research grant. Leila is traveling to Palestine to deepen investigations of Arabic folk dance, and embodied calligraphy, reflecting on bodies moving / not moving through spaces under occupation.
John C.S. Keston is an award-winning composer of electronic, experimental, and instrumental music. His compositions convey a spirit of discovery and exploration through the use of graphic scores, chance and generative techniques, analog and digital synthesis, experimental sound design, signal processing, and acoustic piano. His compositions parallel indeterminate improvisation empowering performers to use their phonomnesis, or sonic imaginations, to contribute to the work. John has performed and exhibited at Northern Spark, the Weisman Art Museum, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Walker Art Center, the Burnet Gallery, the In/Out Festival of Digital Performance (NYC), the Eyeo Festival, INST-INT, Echofluxx (Prague), and Moogfest. His music appears in The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (2012) and he scored the short Familiar Pavement (2015). He has appeared on more than a dozen albums including two solo albums on UnearthedMusic.com. John is a professor of creative multimedia at the University of St. Thomas and founded the sound design resource AudioCookbook.org.
Niky Motekallem is a Iranian-American freelance illustrator. Originally from Ohio, she moved to Minnesota to receive her Masters in Fine Arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work focuses on mythology, flora and fauna in various states of decay, and the transformation of matter. She uses vibrant colors and intricate detail to lure the viewer in to look at otherwise unsavory things. Her work has been featured in shows at Gallery Nucleus Portland, Mondo Gallery, Third Thursdays at the MIA, and Light Grey Art Lab.