Ifrah Mansour is tired of the expectation that she is defined by what the world did to her, not by what she has done in the world. Born in Saudi Arabia, raised at a refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing her family’s native Somalia, Mansour moved to Minneapolis as a high school student. Now 30, she is one of three Somali artists currently exhibiting in “I Am Somali” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, through April 29. Her installation,  “Can I Touch It,” reflects on the experience of Muslim women and girls whose hijabs are yanked or touched without permission.

In 2017, she did six days of pop-up performances at the State Fair — “Somalia’s Balloon” was a child’s perspective of Somalia’s colonial history. In February, she’ll perform “How to Have Fun in a Civil War” at the Guthrie Theater, another solo show that looks at violence through a child’s eyes. Both are by turns serious and funny.

“Life includes humor, and I want to capture that as well as the difficult, painful, and unjust things around us. To me, it’s more reflective of the human condition: one minute we’re laughing, the next we’re extremely sad. As refugees, as Muslims, as minorities, showing our humorous and playful sides gives us more dimension. I want to portray on the stage how I want to be seen in the world.”

— adapted from Minneapolis Institute of Arts news