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Minneapolis to honor first Somali-American elected to office with 'Common Currents' art at Samatar Crossing

Friday May 10, 2024
By Ariel Kozlov

Source: Minneapolis Arts & Cultural Affairs

Minneapolis is gearing up to unveil "Common Currents," a new public artwork celebrating the life and work of the late Hussein Samatar, renowned for bridging cultures in the city's vibrant community. Slated for May 28, "Samatar Crossing" will honor the first Somali-American elected to public office in Minneapolis, with an art installation that honors the diverse journeys of the local population. According to an announcement by the City of Minneapolis, the installation comprises two sculptures on either end of the bridge, featuring colorful steel panels adorned with poetry from local talents.

The evening will commence at 5 p.m. on the east side of Samatar Crossing and promises to quickly become a standout memory for participants. The interactive event will encourage attendees to walk or roll alongside artists and poets in a procession that is set to not merely unveil but truly celebrate this new Minneapolis landmark. "Experience readings from the project poets along the way," the City of Minneapolis suggests, paving the way for what aims to be a multisensory experience.

Creations by artists Ifrah Mansour, Aaron Marx, and Randy Walker serve as the focal points, while poets Sun Yung Shin, Sharon M. Day, ShaVunda Brown, Aegor, Ahmed Said Salah, Sixco, and Mohamed Shariff bring the pieces to life with their inscribed words. Their poetry highlights the threads of common experiences and the enduring spirit of the community—echoing Samatar's impact.

The artwork and the event strive to simultaneously reflect and nurture the ethos that Samatar embodied during his life. The community is set to gather not only to witness but to actively partake in the cultural fusion that "Common Currents" represents. The event will wind down on a high note with refreshments and music on the east end, closing out an evening that seeks to firmly - yet subtly - highlight the indelible mark Samatar left on Minneapolis.

For more details about the celebration and to understand the integral role of public art in Minneapolis' community building, locals and art enthusiasts can visit the City of Minneapolis official event page.

In this December 22, 2005 photo, Mr. Hussein Samatar meets with Mshale for an interview at the Franklin Library in Minneapolis following his appointment to the now defunct Minneapolis Library Board. Mr. Samatar died Sunday, August 25, 2013 following complications from leukemia. Photo: Richard Ooga/Mshale


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