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Arts Rundown: International Flare Provided by Wole Soyinka, Won Ju Lim And More

Wole Soyinka

An international flare can be found in St. Louis this week.

The Black Rep is presenting “The Trials of Brother Jero” as its last offering of the season. The show will run April 9-27 at the Emerson Performance Center at Harris-Stowe State University. For details and information go to the website www.theblackrep.org/.

The play is by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. It is part of a set that satirizes “Christianity and religious hypocrisy, particularly, the unquestioning devotion that many converts display towards their spiritual leaders, often exposing themselves to manipulation in the process,” according to Prima Birungi writing in AfricaBookClub.com

Soyinka was born in 1934 in Nigeria and studied there and in England. According to the Nobel biography, (1986) he has published about 20 works in the form of novels, plays and poems.

In a 1974 interview, Soyinka talked about theater, saying it “is revolutionary when it awakens the individual in the audience, in the black community in this case, who for so long has tended to express his frustrated creativity in certain self-destructive ways, when it opens up to him the very possibility of participating creatively himself in this larger communal process. In other words, and this has been proven time and time again, new people who never believed that they even possessed the gift of self expression become creative and this in turn activates other energies within the individual. I believe the creative process is the most energizing. And that is why it is so intimately related to the process of revolution within society.”

To find more in depth, a Stanford site offers analysis and a wide range of interviews.

For a much briefer look, check out brainyquote.com: But the ultimate lesson is just sit down and write. That's all.

Won Ju Lim - SLAM

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Art Museum opens an exhibit on April 11 by Won Ju Lim, “Raycraft is Dead.” The South Korean-born artist, who lives in Los Angeles, will speak about her work (which includes video, sculpture, collage and photography) at 6 p.m. April 10 in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium.

Lim discusses her work in an interview posted on the website for the Sam Fox School at Washington University.

Mound City - Laumeier

Another opening exhibit is very much of this place, but of a time long past. The artists “Mound City” at Laumeier Sculpture Park “will explore traces of native cultures in our contemporary world, looking at issues ranging from disappearance and resurrection to the myths of American manifest destiny.”

At 7:30 April 11, A Tribe Called Red will perform. As a press release notes, the DJ trio “champions their heritage through music and video art … with clever layering from film and pop culture from their native people to reclaim the aboriginal image. Their block-rocking beats blend traditional pow-wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic bass.”

Jamie Adams - Philip Slein

And for a European flair, go to the Philip Slein Gallery where the recent work of Jamie Adams will include pieces from the “Jeannie Series” These “black and white paintings based on the black and white Godard film "Breathless," featuring the beautiful and tragic American dreamer Jean Seberg. The paintings are set in the Jeannie character's Paris apartment, but Jamie uses the apartment as a tabula rasa on which to project his own dreams.” http://www.philipsleingallery.com/current/

The exhibit opens April 11.

Delmo - 14th Street

“Welcome to Delmo” by William Burton Jr. and Robert Anthony Ketchens is firmly set in this state and this time. It “reflects the lives of sharecroppers in the “Bootheel” region of Missouri and their culture. With iconography that reveals the hardships of the cotton industry”

The exhibit opens April 11 at the 14th Street Artist Community Galleryand is presented in conjunction with the St. Louis Art Museum’s “The Art of Cultivating Roots, Cotton, and Culture in Missouri symposium on April 12.

Dylan Thomas - Dressel's

Meanwhile, the centennial of the Welsh Bard Dylan Thomas will be celebrated at Dressel’s Public House, 419 N. Euclid, from 4-7 p.m. Tune into this week’s Cityscape at noon April 11 to learn more. The event supports the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.