From May 23 to August 22, see the art of connection in the work of Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger.
Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, on view at the Denver Art Museum, May 23, 2021 – August 22, 2021, brings together the work of two leading Indigenous contemporary artists who emphasize collaboration in their artistic processes.
Featuring 26 mixed-media sculptures, wall hangings, and large-scale installation works by Marie Watt (Seneca, Scottish, German) and Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, European), the exhibition marks the first time the two have collaborated and had their work shown alongside each other.
Works on view in Each/Other comprise carved wood, ceramic and fabric sculpture, photography, and installation works, including a new collaborative piece where the two artists’ works converge within the gallery. Pieces are divided into two sections that explore the artists’ engagement with community, materials, and the land.
A collaborative sculpture titled Each/Other (after the exhibition) takes the monumental form of a She-wolf; it consists of a metal armature covered in a “pelt” made from more than 700 embroidered bandanas submitted by collaborators from all over the world.
C&I talked with John Lukavic, the Denver Art Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts, about the show and the nature of artistic collaboration.
Cowboys & Indians: What attracted you to the idea of a show on the theme of collaboration?
John Lukavic: While reviewing the work of many different artists, the ways in which Marie and Cannupa connect with others to create beautiful and powerful works stood out. Collaboration with others is central to both artists’ practice; however, I did not comprehend fully how the process of collaboration would shape the exhibition even more so than the physical works. The initial idea for this exhibition came quite easily, honestly, but the focus did evolve as Marie, Cannupa, and I dove deep into their processes to find more common (and divergent) threads.
C&I: How did you decide to join these two particular artists together?
Lukavic: Once I saw the connection of collaboration in their work, I began to wonder what it might look like for Marie and Cannupa to collaborate directly with one another and with people around the world. Blending Cannupa’s broad calls to collaborate via social media with Marie’s intimate in-person sewing circles excited me for the possibilities it could achieve. Little did we know that COVID-19 would impact the ways in which this occurred. As the pandemic set in, we had to adjust our plans multiple times, but it led to the creation of something unique and timely that explores a shared experience that impacted us all.
C&I: What impact do you hope the show will have on people who come to see it?
Lukavic: When visitors come to the museum to see the exhibition, we will ask them to look beyond the object they see — the noun of art — and focus instead on the process — the verb of artmaking. We hope they see the many hands involved and how when we work together, we can achieve great things.
Find out more about what’s on at the Denver Art Museum.
Photography: (Cover image) Marie Watt, Companion Species (Radiant), 2017