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Third annual arts festival

ND Human Rights exhibition at the Taube

Ciara Parizek/MDN “Lost Generation” by Guvanchmyrat Hojanyyazov. Oil on canvas.

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival exhibition has come to the Taube Museum of Art in downtown Minot for the first time, celebrating their third year.

The NDHRAF is managed by the nonprofit organization, The Human Family. It was founded in 2017, and according to their Facebook description, their mission is to “educate, engage and facilitate discussion around local and world-wide human rights topics through the work of 2D, 3D, written and live performance artists.”

Their art exhibition has traveled to other cities in North Dakota but this year is the first time they have been to the Magic City. In January, the art was displayed in the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. It was at the Bismarck Downtown Artists Co-Op in February.

The NDHRAF will be on display in the Taube Museum’s main gallery from June 10 to July 15. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sunday and Monday. It is open to art lovers of all ages. One section of the exhibit does have some nudity, but it will have a barrier to block it from underage eyes.

The novel coronavirus put a halt on the Grand Forks exhibition. The executive director of the Taube Museum of Art, Rachel Alfaro, said the exhibition they’re hosting will also be the first time it’s been shown in a few months.

Alfaro is working with the director of NDHRAF, Sean Coffman, to make it a successful exhibition. They had been communicating back and forth for almost a year to work out a way to bring the NDHRAF to Minot.

Alfaro said she usually gives herself about a week to get everything put in its proper place, pieces coming from 65 different artists.

The artists who submitted their work are from all over the world, giving a different perspective on human rights with many art styles and media.

The media vary greatly. There are several oil paintings to be hung on the walls. A few three-dimensional pieces are included, such as a clay sculpture, a pair of pants decorated for a cause and a wooden coffin.

One of the captivating paintings was done by Bonnie Lee of a woman named Debbie Levey. Levey was living in England, working as a home care manager and a single mother to her beloved daughter. On Jan. 27, 2013, her life was taken by her estranged and abusive boyfriend.

The explanation that will be next to the painting states that domestic violence isn’t a local or cultural problem. It’s a problem all over the world, women and men being abused by their significant others, family members or even friends.

Signs of domestic violence and abuse include using power, violence or fear to scare the other person into staying in the situation. They want to control the other person, limiting where they go, who they talk to, who they see and many others.

Another oil painting named “Lost Generation” by Guvanchmyrat Hojanyyazov gives a new visual to relationships. A man standing in his slippers is seemingly shrinking away from the darkness that creeps toward him.

Hojanyyazov said in his painting’s description that distortion, violation and the destruction of relationships and reciprocal links cause “humanity to shake social disasters.” The consequence of that “leads to the degradation of society.”

One of the three-dimensional works is titled “Homeless Memorial Casket,” created by the people of Gladys Ray Shelter for the Homeless. It was “designed to bring awareness to those who have passed while homeless.”

All of the designs on the outside were made by people who are or have experienced homelessness themselves, their family and their friends. Inside, many momentos and letters written to those whose lives were lost because of homelessness. Care was taken to decorate the outside. They’re very detailed and colorful. One drawing was even done with just graphite on the side.

Included with the traditional art are three digital pieces that are made of sound. Two of the three have video with them, the last one only containing abstract music on a portable CD player. Each audio piece will have a pair of headphones so the listener or viewer can get the full experience.

Each pair of headphones will be disinfected after every use. Masks will be available who don’t have their own and would prefer to wear them. Alfaro mentioned that some of the pieces, like the headphones and postcards, need to be touched and examined. Gloves will be provided to those who want them.

Along with that, the Taube Museum staff will be disinfecting doors and handles. The staff will be wearing masks, but visitors are not required to wear them. Alfaro said they may limit the number of people inside the establishment to follow the social distancing recommendation.

For the written art portion of the exhibition, four screen plays were submitted.

An artist had postcards made that address the issue of inequality in North Dakota. Most of them are the flat double-sided postcards. One is very unique. It folds in half twice, both sides being printed in color.

The point of the exhibition is to try to bring equality to North Dakota and the world through the power of art. When words are not enough, artists take the helm and put their thoughts, culture and messages into their work.

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