An Expansive Exhibition Pairs Two Indigenous Artists to Explore the Power of Socially Engaged Artmaking




Art

#animals
#collaborative
#found objects
#installation
#portraits
#sculpture

“Each/Other,” (2021) about 700 bandannas, approximately 16 x 9 feet, a collaboration between Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger

A monumental patchwork wolf, warriors sparring with a fang-bearing snake, and an abstract woolen tapestry made of restored blankets comprise Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, which opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum. The expansive exhibition—featuring 26 mixed-media sculptures, installations, and wall hangings—joins two of the leading Indigenous artists working today in a manner that distinguishes both the connective threads and nuances within their bodies of work.

Situated at the center of the space is the 16-foot creature the pair created together by fashioning about 700 patterned bandannas submitted by an international crew around a steel armature. The collaborative installation, titled “Each/Other,” physically tethers Watt’s and Luger’s individual artworks while drawing on the socially engaged aspects inherent to both of their practices.

 

Cannupa Hanska Luger, “Every One” (2018), ceramic, social collaboration, 12 x 15 x 3 feet. Image courtesy of Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art at Ent Center for the Arts, UCCS, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Based in New Mexico, Luger is a multi-media artist of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent whose projects often speak to contemporary life within Indigenous communities. For example, his 2018 piece “Every One” strings together 4,096 ceramic beads into a pixelated portrait of a young figure. Each individual orb represents one of the women, girls, and queer and trans folks who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada.

Watt, who is a member of the Seneca Nation and has Scottish and German heritage, utilizes everyday objects steeped in historical narratives and collective memory. Whether presented through leaning, stacked towers or smaller wall hangings, the Portland-based artist primarily works with materials gathered from the community, like blankets stitched in sewing circles.

Following the end of its run in Denver on August 22, Each/Other will visit the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta from September 25 to December 12, 2021, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem from January 29 to May 8, 2022. Find out more about Luger and Watt on their sites.

 

Marie Watt (Seneca), “Butterfly” (2015), reclaimed wool blankets, satin binding, thread, cotton twill tape, and tin jingles, 94 x 126 inches. Image © Marie Watt

Cannupa Hanska Luger, “This Is Not A Snake” (2017-2020), ceramic, fiber, steel, oil drums, concertina wire, ammunition cans, trash, found objects, 78 x 36 x 600 inches. “The One Who Checks & The One Who Balances” (2018), ceramic, riot gear, afghan, wool surplus industrial felt, beadwork by Kathy Elkwoman Whitman; 6-1/2 feet x 12 inches x 8 inches (each, approximate). Image © Cannupa Hanska Luger, courtesy of the Heard Museum, Craig Smith

Marie Watt “Companion Species (Radiant)” (2017), crystal and western maple base, 8 x 27 x 16 inches. Image © Marie Watt and Kevin McConnell. Made in collaboration with Jeff Mack, Glassblower, and Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Team in Partnership with the Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York

Cannupa Hanska Luger “Mirror Shield Project” (2016), drone operation/performance organization by Rory Wakemup., at Oceti Sakowin camp, Standing Rock, North Dakota

#animals
#collaborative
#found objects
#installation
#portraits
#sculpture

 

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