Art Hounds: Fatoumata Diawara, Edward Curtis, and Ibsen in Lanesboro

Fatoumata Diawara, aka Fatou, will be playing at the Cedar Cultural Center Friday, April 12. (Photo by Youri Lenquette)

This week, a charismatic pan-African performer, a visionary photographer of Native Americans, and a festival dedicated to Norway's most celebrated playwright.

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Scandanavian art, food, fashion and culture will become the obsession of Lanesboro residents this weekend, and sculptor Karl Unnasch can't wait. The 16th annual Ibsen Festival gets underway in the picturesque river bluff town, organized by Commonweal Theatre and anchored by Commonweal's production of Jeffrey Hatcher's adaptation of the Ibsen classic, "A Doll's House." The festival runs April 12-14.

If there is an artist St. Paul photographer Tom Arndt tries to emulate, it's Edward Curtis. Around the turn of the 20th century, Curtis, who at one time lived in St. Paul, began photographing Native Americans in stunning gold tone and platinum prints which to this day haven't lost any of their luster or grandeur. Tom says Curtis' work elevated and celebrated Native culture in a way that wasn't occurring in America back then. Curtis' photographs of American Indians hang at the Minneapolis Photo Center through April 28 in an exhibition called "Driven by a Dream."

The sound of Fatoumata Diawara singing sometimes transports Minneapolis poet Nimo Farah to an African desert where Nimo imagines she's sipping tea and feeling peaceful. Diawara is a songwriter and performer who has become a poignant voice for women across Africa. She's playing the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis on Friday, April 12.

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