Skip to main content

“From Myanmar to Minnesota: Stories of Resettlement, Reconciliation, and Revolution” to show at Gordon Parks Gallery

Posted October 16, 2023

painting of a person in a field with a building and hills behind

Co Thie, Sunset in Pagan

This exhibition features artists from the local Myanmar diaspora communities living in Minnesota. A variety of media and artists are represented in this group exhibition. The Urban Village, a local cultural nonprofit, is featured in this exhibit at Metro State University’s Gordon Parks Gallery.

There are more than 30,000 residents of Minnesota who are of the Myanmar diaspora community, making it the largest concentration of the Myanmar diaspora anywhere outside of Southeast Asia. This exhibition is appropriate and timely given the proximity that Metro State and the broader Minnesota community has to the Myanmar diaspora, as well as the current realities this community is facing. Myanmar is home to the longest running civil war in the history of the world and is currently under its third violent military coup. At this moment, more than 2,000,000 people around the world have been displaced by violence in Myanmar. 

Guest curator and The Urban Village Co-Director Jesse Phenow has said, "Given the current context in Myanmar, it's imperative that we acknowledge, pay due homage to, and safeguard the artistic and traditional heritage originating from Myanmar, with a particular emphasis on contributions emerging from the nation's diverse ethnic communities. Regrettably, Myanmar is presently ensnared in its third and most severe military coup, marked by an escalated level of brutality directed towards the country's ethnic minority populations by the military apparatus. The act of preserving cultural legacies takes on an elevated significance during these tumultuous periods. This isn't just art and cultural preservation, this is resistance."

Gallery Director Erica Rasmussen, further expounds, “The artists and craftspeople featured in this exhibit run the gamut in terms of training and skill levels, yet they all share one thing in common; a passion for making material objects informed by their individual and communal experiences. From handmade textiles to intricately executed portraiture, this exhibit celebrates the contributions that the immigrants from Myanmar are making to Minnesota’s cultural landscape.”

The opening reception takes place 5–7:30 p.m., Thursday, October 26, with a gallery talk starting at 7. Gallery hours are 1–7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, October 30 – November 30. 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.