Born in 1979 on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, Cannupa Hanska Luger is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation and is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent. In 2011, he received a BFA in Studio Ceramics from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Through monumental installations, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about 21st century Indigeneity. Inspired by images of women holding mirrors up to riot police in the Ukraine, Luger created a brief instructional video for The Mirror Shield Project (2016), inviting the public to create and send mirrored shields to the Water Protectors along the Dakota Access Pipeline—trading hundreds of supporters’ ephemeral “likes” and “shares” on social media for tangible and transformative contributions. The artist used a similar instructional video in The MMIWQT Bead Project (2018), prompting diverse communities across the U.S. and Canada to shape and send over 4,000 individual handmade clay beads, which he then assembled into the 15 by 15 foot sculptural installation Every One. With the cooperation of thousands, the project re-humanized the abstract data gathered by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, each bead standing in for one of the missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls, queer and trans community members.
Luger has received numerous awards such as the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Multicultural Fellowship Award, 2015; the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship Award, 2016; the Museum of Arts and Design Burke Prize, 2018; and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, 2019. He has been the subject of more than 21 solo exhibitions and has participated in over 110 group exhibitions at venues such as Art Mûr (2014, Montreal), Princeton University Art Museum (2018), Washington Project for the Arts (2017), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2018, 2019, Bentonville), Gardiner Museum (2019, Toronto), Orenda Gallery (2017, Paris), the Autry Museum (2017, Los Angeles), and the Museum of Arts and Design (2018, 2019, New York), among others.
His works are featured in the collections of many museums, including: the North America Native Museum (Zürich, Switzerland); the Denver Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe); the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (Norman, OK); the Luciano Benetton Collection: Imago Mundi (Treviso, Italy); the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven); and the Conley Gallery, California State University (Fresno).