Photo by Eliesa Johnson
Wang Ping on the Mississippi River with her prayer flags
In 2011, Macalester professor and poet Wang Ping set out on a canoe. Armed with cloth prayer flags, she paddled down the Mississippi looking to connect with anyone she met along the way. Fishermen, rowers, park rangers, and fellow travelers—she entreated them all to be stewards of the river by marking a flag with a poem, drawing, or wish. She did the same on the Yangtze, starting near her childhood home of Shanghai.
“As soon as I unfold and hang the flags, people get creative,” she says. “Imagination flows out of them.” Now these flags—almost 10,000 of them—will hang in The Soap Factory as part of Ping’s first large exhibition since she began her travels.
Visitors to We Are Water can make their own flags, which Ping will add to the collection, most of which she plans to carry to the top of Mount Everest so she can send the good wishes “out from the roof of the world.” See the schedule of tea ceremonies, theater and music performances, and poetry readings going on during the exhibit at Soap Factory. May 10-Jun 7.514 SE 2nd St., Mpls., 612-623-9176, soapfactory.org