The Gordon Parks Gallery ascribes to a multi-faceted mission: to support the arts curriculum and cultural activities of Metropolitan State University and to preserve the legacy of the 20th century multimedia artist Gordon Parks.
As an academic venue, the gallery is committed to providing educational opportunities for adult learners through internships, student exhibitions and related programming. As a civic venue, the gallery is dedicated to exposing Minnesotans to the life and work of Gordon Parks through youth and community outreach programs.
Gordon Parks Gallery is dedicated to showing the work of various subjects, media, forms and content by diverse artists, including emerging and established artists of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Textiles from studio ruyee, a Minneapolis and Indian cooperative, are featured in the first exhibit of the fall semester at Metro State University’s Gordon Parks Gallery.
Anita Golpalaswamy is an Indian textile artist, collaborator, and proprietor of studio ruyee in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gopalaswamy designs sumptuous woven and printed textiles, and financially supports women artisans in India who laboriously hand-produce the designs. Then she brings their communal wares to the United States where their fine products meet a commercial market. Sometimes, Gopalaswamy also brings back historic Indian textiles. The historic textiles occasionally feature craftsmanship and techniques that are no longer practiced today. Her collection of textiles is not just a treasure trove of refined utilitarian wares intended for clothing and the home, but it’s also an outlet for cultural expression.
As Golpalaswamy has explained, “Textiles created in this collaborative process at studio ruyee are accretive in nature … Each piece expresses the interaction between the labor of one phase atop the labor of an earlier stage. From the farmers who feed mulberry to the silkworms to the thread makers, dyers, and weavers in West Bengal, each member of this creative web builds on the labors of their partners. Similar relationships prevail in the creation of textiles made of wool and cotton. In addition to all the positive environmental and market forces required to bring this art to life, there are also risks faced by every household in this web that is dependent on their compensation for their survival. In India and elsewhere, exploitation and trafficking are common and fundamental threats to the integrity of this work.”
Gallery Director Erica Rasmussen further expounds, “I’ve been aware of Anita Golpalaswamy and her textile collection for years. I’m thrilled to finally bring studio ruyee to campus. Visitors can expect to encounter yards of textiles suspended from the ceiling, as well as several dressforms draped in finery throughout the gallery. This will create a rich visual and cultural experience as one meanders through the intimate space.”
The opening reception takes place 5–7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 21, with a gallery talk by Golpalaswamystarting at 7. Gallery hours are 1–7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, September 25 – October 19. The gallery is located at the university’s Saint Paul Campus on the third floor of the Library and Learning Center, 645 East Seventh Street.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Erica Rasmussen, gallery director, at email@example.com.