- At the beginning of January 29, two indigenous artists whose work stems from and aims to produce activism and social engagement will take center stage at the Peabody Essex Museum.
- Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, two artists, use their creativity as a process that connects each of us through a variety of media.
Marie Watt, an enrolled Seneca Nation member with German-Scots ancestry, Cannupa Hanska Luger, registered Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation member with Lakota and European ancestry, collaborate to create works of art that promote empathy and understanding among individuals, neighbors, and communities.
The Denver Art Museum organized Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, which is on display at PEM from January 29 to May 8.
According to Watt and Luger, art can be a social project in which participants become engaged, invested, and capable of forging new relationships.
The 26 large-scale works on display span various media, from carved wood and fabric sculpture to photography and video, and are divided into two sections that explore each artist’s creative interactions with community, materials, and the land.
Several works were created in collaboration with non-artist volunteers as part of what is known as “social practice,” or artwork that focuses on the interaction between the audience, social systems, and the creator.
Visitors are encouraged to look for evidence of the many hands that contributed to the works’ creation and consider how the natural environment influenced this exhibition.
“These works are tangible, but they are also memories and evidence of collaborations people coming together and participating in something bigger than themselves,” said Karen Kramer, PEM’s curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture.
“In Indigenous communities, gathering to socialize and work on something together is often how knowledge is shared, and objects are made. Collaboration is not a suggests to an end for these artists. It is central to their artistic practice, fuels their passion, and motivates them to take action to make a difference in the world.”
Watt and Luger merged practices on Each/Other, a larger-than-life sculpture created with people from all over the world over many days during the global pandemic. The artists asked participants to embroider messages on bandanas and consider how collaborative acts can help heal broken bonds with the environment and with one another.
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