New exhibit celebrates Southwest Asian and North African immigrants in Minnesota

An immersive collection of stories on finding home and belonging

A photo studio
Photo portraits from "To Your Raise Head - Stories of Immigration" at Second Shift Studio in St. Paul.
Courtesy of Shun Jie Yong, a member of the artist collective CarryOn Homes.

A new exhibit of immersive portraits of Southwest Asian and North African immigrants in Minnesota opens Saturday at Soo Visual Arts Center.

"To Your Raised Head - Stories of Immigration" showcases a tapestry of experiences from people who have had to rebuild home in the face of war, political upheaval and loss. The project is an intergroup collaboration between the artist collective CarryOn Homes, the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project (IARP) and Winona Afghan Support Network (WASN). It was made possible by funding from Forecast Public Art. 

Each participant shares their journey to Minnesota and the significance of an object they carried with them on the way. The home countries of those who participated include Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Zoe Cinel, a member of CarryOn Homes along with Peng Wu and Shun Jie Yong, says she sees the exhibit as a way to foster connection around a human need to find home and belonging no matter who we are or where we come from.

For more with Cinel and to hear excerpts of stories from the exhibit, listen to the full conversation using the audio player above.

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