Lynden Sculpture Garden
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Home: Conversation on Displacement and the Arts

Lynden Hosts Third Free Conversation Featuring Artists & Activists

By - Feb 7th, 2020 03:09 pm

Lynden launched its series of Conversations on Displacement and the Arts in the fall as part of Welcoming Week (September 13-22, 2019), a program of Welcoming America that enlists organizations around the country to welcome new immigrants and refugees into their new communities. The third of these conversations is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, from 1 to 3 pm, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Participants in the panel, moderated by artist-in-residence Kim Khaira, include Ashraf Albakir, Ras ‘Ammar Nsoroma, Sumeya Osman, and Nirmal Raja.

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These conversations among artists, scholars, and community activists continue the work begun with our first annual refugee celebration, HOME this past June, and focus attention on these communities as we prepare for the second HOME celebration, scheduled for World Refugee Day (June 20, 2020). As with similar conversations at Lynden, we are looking at displacement broadly, as both an internal and an external phenomenon: from the experiences of refugees and immigrants coming to the United States, to those of Indigenous and formerly enslaved and interned populations within this country. In the spirit of Lynden’s commitment to inclusivity, all of these conversations are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

About the Participants
Ashraf Albakir is an accountant and refugee from Syria. When he resettled to Sheboygan in 2017, he could not continue his work as an accountant because of language and certification barriers. He currently works in upholstery and furniture making, and he plans to go back to school for business management in hopes of better utilizing and applying the skills that refugee communities bring with them when they resettle in the United States. As an avid community supporter, he contributes to the work of Hanan Refugee Relief with Sheila Badwan and Salvatorian Warehouse by organizing donations and supplies to orphans and refugees in Syria and Jordan. His perspective of empowerment in refugee work and the global refugee issue due to war tragedies stems from being a refugee himself and seeing these tragedies up close.

Kim M Khaira is a community worker and artist based in Milwaukee from Penang, Malaysia, whose current work draws on the sense of home, creating home, and of making “sense” of the literal and abstract. She is exploring these themes in Pulang Balik: I Am Going Home Too, her residency project at Lynden.

Ras ‘Ammar Nsoroma is a muralist, portraitist, and mixed media painter. He is a 2019 Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellow in the established artist category. His work centers around the spiritual, cultural, and political consciousness of the African Diaspora, and he is currently exploring the world of the Orisha, African deities of the pantheon of the Yoruba people. Nsoroma has worked as an artist for 35 years. He studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sumeya Osman is a Somali refugee who lived in Uganda as an urban refugee for six years. Resettling to the United States, she’s lived in Milwaukee for three years. As a community advocate and interpreter, her experience and skills range from working as a community health worker at Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic with Kai Mishlove, to supporting initiatives at the local level with Public Allies, and advocating for refugee rights. Her ongoing passion for grassroots engagement and community health has led her to pursue training as a doula and midwife within diverse communities, as well as encouraging talents in refugee youth. Sumeya is an active member of the HOME steering committee, and is busily engaged with the planning of this annual, community-directed refugee event at Lynden. She is the event’s co-MC, alongside Rohingya refugee Hasina Begum.

Nirmal Raja is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Milwaukee. Conceptually driven and thematic, her work straddles the personal and the political and is a response to lived experiences that are distilled and strengthened by research in the studio and through reading. She approaches her practice as a process of sifting and communicating sensations and ideas with varied materials and processes. She examines notions of memory, identity, place and belonging. Performative collaborations with other artists and the larger community have recently become part of her practice. Occasionally, she curates exhibitions and organizes and facilitates situations that articulate moments of connection and empathy. Raja holds a BA in English literature, a BFA in painting and drawing from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has participated in solo and group shows in the Midwest, nationally, and internationally. Her work has been included in both public and private collections. She is a mentor for Milwaukee Artists Resource Network’s mentorship program.

About the Lynden Sculpture Garden
The Lynden Sculpture Garden operates as a laboratory at the intersection of art, nature, and culture. We work with artists, educators, students, and our community to create, support, and share experiences that integrate our collection of monumental sculptures and temporary installations, Lynden’s community of artists, and the natural ecology of our 40-acre site. The sculpture garden is open to art and nature lovers of all ages daily, 10 am-5 pm; until 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings in the summer; closed Thursdays. Admission to the sculpture garden is $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors; children under 6 and members are free. Annual memberships are also available.

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