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Cannupa Hanska Luger

Posted on: September 15, 2014


Visual artist Cannupa Hanska Luger was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota with Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian heritage. Hanska’s preferred medium has been ceramics, though he is also developing work in video and performance, and is currently creating socially conscious work balanced with a high standard of craftsmanship. Hanska has recently been working on a collaborative film project, “This is a Stereotype,” which will address misconceptions of Native American identity, and will premiere October 1.

Hanska received his BFA focusing in studio ceramics from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2011, graduating with honors. He has recently shown at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, where he is represented. Additionally, his work is in several public collections and has been included in exhibitions worldwide including at The North American Native Museum in Switzerland, Art Mur in Canada, and at Art Basel.


Bob Kaufman stated in a poem, “…Creation is Perfect…” This phrase has been a lighthouse, a ladder, and a lifeboat in those awkward moments of uncertainty found between unwrapping a block of clay and expressing a cohesive idea. It has been a beacon to illuminate the darkness of irrational fears. A reverie that does not vouch for the product but, more importantly, the action. The process of creation is perfect and beyond that moment all things exist in a state of entropy. There seems to be a harmony between creation and destruction, one defines the other. A block of clay is destroyed to create a sculpture. It is then subjected to extreme heat, which transforms it to something fragile, that on a timeline difficult to perceive, will eventually breakdown and return it to the earth. This is not a duality and should not be perceived as linear. It is more cyclical, like the ebb and flow of tides. This is the creative process in which the artist and the form/concept can meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it is a long and arduous struggle to achieve. The creation is made out of every experience in an entire life up until this moment, and clay. Every piece continues to take a lifetime to create, so that life itself is a material. And so, art should represent this moment in time, an interpretation of right now. What is created is an attempt to be as honest as possible. Truth is static and fragile. Honesty and sincerity has plasticity.


I am interested in developing diversity in my ceramic studio equipment, which will increase the caliber of my works craftsmanship. With more time to focus on concept, my work and ideas will be able to reach further into the world and allow my studio to become the creative think tank it is capable of. Developing the skillsets through practice and application of new tools and equipment will increase my ability to create, to sp more time on the concept and detail of each body of work. My studio practice would benefit from an upgrade by allowing me to build in larger scale and quantity, opening opportunity for more museum showings and installation focus. A larger range of tools and equipment in my studio practice would also aid my long-term desire for instructing and mentoring as I have future intentions of developing a residency program in New Mexico. Funding gained toward any new studio equipment will only make the other goals of studio development, learning and teaching that much closer to reach. I am excited about the future, and look forward to continuing to participate in the global artistic community on multiple levels, SPREAD will get me closer to this goal.

You can view more of Cannupa Hanska Luger’s work here and his current film project here.

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