Reflections of a Black Muslimah – The Poetry of Sagirah Shahid

Sagirah Shahid reading at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis

Sagirah Shahid reading at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

Welcome to the second of four posts introducing the writers who’ve created poems for Nicollet Lanterns: Moheb Soliman, Sagirah Shahid, Junauda Petrus and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. (Nu’Eta).

Sagirah Shahid is a writer, poet, and teacher. An African American Muslim Feminist, she uses spoken word and literary work to build community and to advocate for positive social change.

In her proposal to create poems for Nicollet Lanterns, Shahid wrote:

I often explore themes surrounding identity because it is my hope that in sharing the nuances of my own personal identity I can empower anyone else out there in the world who feels invisible or misrepresented to share their own stories. … my goal would be to create poems… that reflect upon Minneapolis’ diversity and that capture the essence of the invisible voices of Minneapolis.

Read about this emerging poet’s unique voice in excerpts from an engaging interview.

Historic Works by Minnesota Artists Return to the Mall

During Fall 2015, all of the public art was removed from Nicollet Mall in anticipation of its reconstruction. Carefully de-installed were the Sculpture Clock by Jack Nelson, the only piece remaining from Lawrence Halprin’s original Mall design of the late 1960s, as well as artworks commissioned during the last renovation in the early 1990s. Many of these works, by Minnesota artists who were establishing their reputations at that time, will reappear on the Mall along with the most significant public commission created by George Morrison, one of our state’s most esteemed artists. In 2018, Morrison’s granite carpet entitled Tableau, A Native American Portrait will return to the Mall.

The first artworks will be reinstalled in August 2017, including Shadows of Spirit by Seitu Jones, Ta-coumba Aiken and Soyini Guyton, and Kate Burke’s beloved Hail Minnesota manhole covers. Shadows of Spirit will be inset in the pavement between Grant Street and 11th Street, sited among trees and seating in the South Grove and Loring Woods, providing a welcoming entry to the new Mall from the Loring Park Greenway.

Jones, Aiken and Guyton created Shadows of Spirit over 25 years ago, early in their artistic careers. Committed to living and working in the Twin Cities, they became locally- and nationally-respected public artists. During a 2013 interview, they looked back on the Nicollet Mall project and its impact upon their careers and art. Read the interview here.

Kate Burke produced the popular series of manhole covers in 1992, before personal computers, digital cameras and ink jet printers. She searched her studio for the original design materials and photographed the plans and drawings, digitized old photographs, and shares her creative process with you here.

Future blog posts will feature an interview with Kinji Akagawa, creator of the seating ensemble Enjoyment of Nature which, along with Stone Boats by Stan Sears, will reappear on Nicollet Mall later in the fall.