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Art of Humanity at the Sami Center

Wood and deer antler sculpture by John Frandy, briefly on exhibit at the Sami Cultural Center. (Photo submitted)

An ambitious project to collect small pieces of art from every country and the peoples of the world was begun by Luciano Benetton, a founder of Benetton Group clothing company. "Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity" is a worldwide project sponsored by the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in Italy as a way of collecting contemporary art and making it accessible to everyone.

The Sami, the indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, are featured in the project, which will also include the North American Sami community. Marlene Wisuri, chair and visual artist of Duluth's Sami Cultural Center of North America, has been asked to be a guest curator, selecting 34 pieces of art from the North American Sami community. Each artwork is exactly 10-by-12 cm in size and will be featured on the Imago Mundi web site ( and in a printed catalog, as well as selected exhibits.

The Sami Cultural Center will host an exhibit of the collected pieces at the annual Welcoming Winter and Holiday Open House 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, before the work is shipped to Italy. The featured artists represent mixed heritages and varied life stories connected by the common thread of Sami and Indigenous culture.

The artists range in age from 17 to over 90 and they live in many areas of the United States, including Minnesota's Arrowhead region, and Canada. Their artistic expression takes many forms: painting and drawing, fiber, wood, photography and various types of duodji (Sami handcrafts). Some are established artists with long exhibition records and others are just starting artistic careers, or have worked quietly in their chosen media.

If you go

Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 4-7 p.m.

Sami Cultural Center of North America, 4915 E. Superior St., Suite 205 (Visitors use the Pitt Street entrance.)

Admission free

For information call (218) 525-4757 or go to