CANNUPA HANSKA LUGER BIO
Cannupa Hanska Luger is a New Mexico-based, multi-disciplinary artist. Raised on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, he is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. Using social collaboration and in response to timely and site-specific issues, Luger produces multi-pronged projects that take many forms. Through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and repurposed materials, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about 21st century Indigeneity. This work provokes diverse publics to engage with Indigenous peoples and values apart from the lens of colonial social structuring and oftentimes presents a call to action to protect land from capitalist exploits.
Recent, notable works include The MMIWQT Bead Project (2018), a social collaboration resulting in the monumental sculptural installation Every One, composed of over 4000 individual handmade clay beads created by hundreds of communities across the U.S. and Canada to re-humanize the data of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, queer and trans community members; and The Mirror Shield Project (2016), a social engagement work which invited the public to create mirrored shields for water protectors at Standing Rock and which has since been formatted and used in various resistance movements across the nation.
Luger is a 2019 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Honoree and the recipient of the Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 inaugural Burke Prize, an award celebrating ‘highly accomplished work, strong use of materials, innovative processes, and conceptual rigor and relevance’. The Wall Street Journal named Cannupa Hanska Luger as Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Local Hero for America’s Art Scene in 2018. Luger has exhibited internationally including venues such as Princeton University Art Museum, Washington Project for the Arts, Art Mûr in Montreal, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Orenda Gallery in Paris, Autry Museum of the American West, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, among others. He lectures, participates in residencies and large scale projects around the globe and his work is collected internationally. Luger holds a BFA in studio arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Namita Gupta Wiggers, Director of Critical and Historical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College and Director and Co-Founder of the Critical Craft Forum states within her Burke Prize Juror statement that “Luger simultaneously addresses cultural loss and cultural sustenance, memory and interpretation, concrete form and craft as action. In a world wrought with conflict, he illuminates the strength and unity that come through craft’s capacity to engage communities, empower participation, and flourish in contexts within and outside of the museum setting.” Della Warrior, Director of The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture has stated that “Cannupa Hanska Luger is doing important and vital work, which combines cultural analysis with dedication and respect for human beings, diverse materials, environments and communities with which he engages.” and The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation notes "Luger could well rise to be one of those artists whose caliber is unmatched and whose work will be studied by students to come, thus furthering the path for many more contemporary Native artists."