Leslie Barlow, Cover Artist June 2016

I am an artist living and working on occupied Očeti Šakówin and Wahpekute land now known as Minneapolis. I am interested in examining and reimagining our relationships to our racial identities through decolonizing and healing our collective understanding of belonging and what it means to be family.

My oil paintings and mixed material pieces share stories through figure and portraiture, exploring issues of multiculturalism, identity, representation, trauma, and race. I investigate these through the use of the personal — often creating works depicting family, friends, people in my community, and experiences, to reflect the integrations of these issues into individual lives and relationships.

The collaborative work I do with other artists and people in the community is just as important to me as my studio practice. I am currently teaching courses at the University of Minnesota. I occasionally teach community classes and workshops and hold public lectures. In 2017, I joined a team of organizers and artists to plan the first-ever MidWest Mixed Conference, which has added programming that works to heal racial trauma and build community solidarity.

In response to the killing of George Floyd, I became a part of the collective Creatives After Curfew, creating street art with community in solidarity with the uprising, calls for police abolition, and #AllBlackLivesMatter.

Details: lesliebarlowartist.com, midwestmixed.com, creativesaftercurfew.com

When Minnesota Women’s Press transitioned from a newspaper format to a monthly magazine in 2009, the publication began showcasing Minnesota women artists on the cover each month. They worked in many mediums, and were at various stages of their careers.

In our “35 Years of Minnesota Women’s Press” book, former publishers Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson write, “We looked for artwork that made a strong statement about being a woman, and often artwork that represented the theme of the monthly issue — from women’s bodies, homes and environments, spiritualities, politics, fitness and health, and what nourishes women.”

For this issue, we reconnected with a few past cover artists and asked them to share an update on their lives and art.