The New Mexico-based artist Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota) rose to prominence in 2016 for his Mirror Shield Project in Standing Rock, North Dakota—a work that symbolically supported the Dakota Access Pipeline protests amid escalating clashes between demonstrators and the police, comprising a series of mirrored shields that were distributed on-site. Luger’s practice, which extends to film, performance and sculpture, is rooted in resistance. A series of new ceramic and mixed-media sculptures depicting monstrous severed heads and arms, a broken bottle of alcohol and blood-soaked weapons evoke the insidious effect of colonisation on Indigenous culture while signaling the power to persevere. The works are complemented by three wall-sized projections that engulf the space, showing soldiers in appropriated Indigenous regalia preparing for battle in atmospheric landscapes. The video installation is part of Luger’s Future Ancestral Technologies project, an ongoing work the artist has likened to Indigenous science fiction.
—Gabriella Angeleti and Ellen Frances