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When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration

February 23–August 23, 2020

Target Galleries

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About the Exhibition

By choice or by force. With great success or great struggle. People move or are uprooted, for many reasons. The world is currently witness to the highest levels of movement on record; the United Nations estimates that one out of every seven people is an international or internal migrant or refugee.

Borrowing its title from Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, “When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration” highlights the diverse artistic responses to migration, ranging from personal stories to poetic meditations in a range of mediums. See how the global movement of people today through migration, immigration, and displacement has mobilized artists from over a dozen countries to reimagine ideas of home and place. The exhibition includes more than 40 works by 21 artists, among them Kader Attia, Tania Bruguera, Mona Hatoum, Yinka Shonibare CBE, and Aliza Nisenbaum.

Virtual Video Tour

In this virtual video tour, Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at Mia, talks about works in and related to the exhibition.

Only at Mia

For its local presentation, Mia commissioned Twin Cities–based CarryOn Homes and Postcommodity, based in the American Southwest, to create artworks highlighting stories of home and the difficult journey of migrants. The exhibition also includes the U.S. premiere of Ai Weiwei’s Safe Passage.

Ai Weiwei, Safe Passage, 2016
An internationally recognized artist and activist, Ai Weiwei has used his work to bring increased attention and visibility to human rights issues. Debuting in Berlin, with later iterations in Japan and Chile, Safe Passage marks its U.S. premiere at Mia. The installation comprises thousands of discarded lifejackets, worn by refugees making the dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece, to be installed on Mia’s exterior columns.

CarryOn Homes, COH Living Room, 2020
Comprising five artists from five countries—Zoe Cinel (Italy), Preston Drum (USA), Aki Shibata (Japan), Peng Wu (China) and Shun Jie Yong (Malaysia)—CarryOn Homes is dedicated to telling the stories of immigrants and refugees in the United States through art. COH Living Room is a shared space for local immigrant and refugee communities to access resources, connect, and have restful and healing conversations.

Click here to listen to a recording of their Virtual Artist Talk: What Makes a Home

Postcommodity, Let Us Pray for the Water Between Us, 2020

*Reena Saini Kallat, “Woven Chronicle,” 2011–16 Courtesy the artist. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. © Reena Saini Kallat.
*Installation view of the exhibition, "Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter." October 01, 2016 - January 22, 2017. Reena Saini Kallat. Woven Chronicle. (2011-2016). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photographer: Jonathan Muzikar. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY