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Duluth artist orchestrates 122 international conversations

The Sister Cities delegation from Ohara Isumi-City, Japan, at Glensheen Mansion July 3, wrote symbols, messages and their names in an artist's book. (Photo by Ken Bloom)1 / 3
One of Labovitz’s paintings inspired by international conversations. (Photo submitted)2 / 3
Labovitz meets with Tsukasa Kaga, Isumi city councilor, while a University of Wisconsin Superior student, Naho Miyachi, right, helps with translation at Glensheen. (Photo submitted)3 / 3

If you add up the years that Duluth has been involved with each of five Sister Cities, it totals 122 years. Therefore, artist and Duluth native and Anne Labovitz has created an exhibition, "122 Conversations."

Labovitz's paintings are based on exchanges with more than 60 participants, including the mayor of each of Duluth's Sister Cities, through in-person or Skype interviews. The five cities, with their respective years in a Sister City relationship, are Thunder Bay, Canada, 35 years; Ohara-Isumi City, Japan, 25 years; Rania, Iraqi Kurdistan, two years; Petrozavodsk, Russia, 30 years; and Växjö, Sweden, 30 years.

This exhibit will travel around the world to each sister city. It started in Thunder Bay on Sept. 10 and will end in Duluth in winter 2017. The Thunder Bay exhibit is at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin St.

This summer Labovitz conversed with a delegation from Ohara Isumi-City. A Feb. 22, 2015 Budgeteer column mentioned Labovitz meeting with residents of Rania, Iraqi through Skype for this art project.

To see videos of Labovitz visiting with residents of Duluth's sister cities, search Youtube using keywords "122 Conversations" and "Anne Labovitz."