Artist Profile: Cannupa Hanska Luger – Day Two

CANNUPA HANSKA LUGER created this entanglement of antlers using ceramic, felt, and steel. He is making a hanging sculpture for this summer’s public art show RACE AND REVOLUTION.

Q: Why did you want to participate in this show?

Luger - Interlocked skulls - facing

The conversation this exhibition is having mirrors the ongoing themes in my own work, from the perspective of my present Indigenous experience. My intention in participation is to continue to show that Native peoples are not simply still here, but we are thriving, adapting and creating work that speaks about our experience as survivors of an apocalypse that has already taken place in America.

Artist Profile: Cannupa Hanska Luger

Multi-media artist CANNUPA HANSKA LUGER is showing this summer in RACE AND REVOLUTION, a public art show that explores the roots of racism in the United States.This week learn about his story and how and why he wanted to contribute to this show.


Born in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation, in a small town known as Fort Yates, Cannupa Hanska Luger comes from Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. Luger’s unique, ceramic­-centric, but ultimately multidisciplinary work tells provocative stories of complex Indigenous identities coming up against 21st Century imperatives, mediation, and destructivity. Luger creates socially conscious work that hybridizes his identity as an American Indian in tandem with global issues. His work has been called “An expertly executed consideration of Native identit(y)” by THE Magazine and Western Art Collector Magazine wrote that Luger “gives a modern look at ideas of colonization, adaptability and survival as major components to the development of culture.”

Community Voices: Teens talk about racism and community

In preparation for this summer’s public art show, RACE AND REVOLUTION, I asked teens to ask teens some questions about race, how they learn about history, and their roles in their communities.

Meet Julian, 16, from NYC

Julian, 16

Q: How would you describe or explain racism in the United States?

A: Rampant. From the beginning of the US through modern day racism has been a systemic part of our society, fueling relations, economic policy, foreign policy, and causing more horror and pain than any system in American History.

Q: What might the phrase historical trauma mean?

A: The phrase historical trauma might mean lasting damage caused to a specific race, ethnicity, or people by a historical event or occurrence. For instance, the systemic racism present in American culture against African Americans since slavery.

Q: What role does an individual have towards making a community better?

A: The individual is the basis of the community, so the individual has a huge effect on making the community better. The individual, in working to better themselves and to keep themselves safe and happy, inadvertently keeps their community happy by promoting ideas, causes, and actions that are beneficial to all.

A: What does it mean to hear the words, “I’m sorry”?

Nothing. They’re words, just like every other sentence, every other idea, speech, lecture. The intentions can be good, the intentions can be to make the receiver feel better about something, but more often than not they’re empty words. “I’m sorry simply” means someone doesn’t like feeling guilty. Being sorry, more often than not, is selfish. It is the first defense mechanism humans are taught to use.

Artist Profile: Jen Painter – Day Five

Photographer/videographer JEN PAINTER contemplates her role as an artist. See her completed piece this summer at the public art show RACE AND REVOLUTION.

Q: What role does or should an artist have in society?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.08.41 AM 
A: I believe that when we react to our surroundings we connect directly with the world around us. Our reactions can be strengthening or weakening, but either way they are powerful. Let’s say something happens that affects me, and I feel angry, confused, disgusted, awakened. Where does that energy go? For me that energy almost always wants to turn into art or conversation. Art as a broad medium has created a space where we can speak raw truth, oftentimes without making people feel threatened. By removing a sense of threat or fear, people can absorb a message or a work of art with less bias and resistance. The art world creates a predisposition where we can say or do that would, in any other context, be uncomfortable, inappropriate, or unacceptable. From a social point of view, if an artist aims to please, he or she is missing the point.


Artist Profile: Jen Painter Day Four

Photographer/videographer JEN PAINTER talks about the intention of her art.

Q: What are you most interested in communicating through your art?

Jen Painter - Carmen Corchado

A: I try to communicate how we see ourselves, our fears and assumptions about the world and the truth of how we see each other. Our ability to learn from the past means that we should be able to accept the inevitable evolution of thoughts and that how we see the world is ever changing. But we resist and fear change because it holds many mysteries.  Reality will always twist and take new shapes, and we create these realities together.      We are responsible.


Artist Profile: Jen Painter – day three

As she prepares her work for RACE AND REVOLUTION, a public art show this summer on Governors Island, photographer/videographer JEN PAINTER responds to the question:

How would you explain or describe racism in the United States?

Jen Painter

“The first words that come to mind are, “It’s complicated”. It’s something we say when we are overwhelmed or when it’s hard to talk about it. Sometimes I believe racism in the U.S. is simple: it’s always been about fear and power working together. Sometimes I think it’s unbearably complex: it’s always been about culture, roots, pride, selfishness, insecurities, religion, lifestyles, jealousy, protection, fear of failure or death or change, stereotypes, groupthink, social structures, economics, lack of education or miseducation, etc.. One thing I am certain of is that here and now in the U.S. we ARE talking about racism. Another thing I am certain of is that this particular conversation makes those participating feel incredibly vulnerable, which I think is a kind of key to the bigger picture. Every time I turn a corner and think I’ve made progress in my own understanding, something I read or someone I talk to will be waiting around the bend to rock my world and help me wake up, slowly.”

Artist Profile: Jen Painter – Day Two


Photographer/videographer Jen Painter shares why she wanted to be involved in this summer’s RACE AND REVOLUTION, a public art show.

Q: Why did you want to participate in this show?
A: Exploring identities and histories of racism is a big undertaking, but creating something out of that exploration is downright terrifying. Talking out loud about racism as a white female is aggravating, intimidating, wondrous, educational, draining and fulfilling. Why are we able to speak more openly today about race and challenging racism than in the past? Why are we telling ourselves to face this reality now? I believe being a part of this show is something I need to do. As an artist who focuses on social issues, one could say I am constantly “choosing my battles”. This IS a kind of battle; however, I don’t see racism as a battle with different sides. I see it as a battle within ourselves, an internal struggle that can be overcome. This is perhaps why this project has been especially challenging. But I think it’s an important battle worth choosing.

Artist Profile: Jen Painter


“I am a visual listener and storyteller. I explore identity through individual experience and cultures. My work strives to embrace and promote fellow creatives, communities and local organizations.”

Over the course of the next two months, each artist for the public art show RACE AND REVOLUTION will be featured as part of an artist profile series. Photographer and videographer JEN PAINTER kicks off the series. As the week progresses we will learn more about her creative process and perspective.

I have asked each of the nine artists to answer a series of questions in order to understand what motivates and inspires them to create works that tackle challenging issues around identity, community, race, social justice, etc.

Community Voices: Meet Eddie, 16

In the weeks leading up to the public art show RACE AND REVOLUTION, my interns have been asking people in their community how they would define racism. The show examines the roots of racism in the United States by pairing historical documents with contemporary art.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.48.27 AM Eddie, 16, lives in New Jersey. He was asked to explain what he thinks the word “racism” means.

“People who are racist believe that they are superior to other races, and will create noise to express their dislike of that race. For example, when 9/11 happened, many Americans became racist towards Muslims because they looked different and did not understand the culture, so anything unfamiliar posed a threat towards them. I think that racism is just having no tolerance to be open to another area; so rather than being open, being narrow minded is easier.

Communities Speak on Racism

Race and Revolution is a public art show that will explore the roots of racism in the United States. Because it is a show for the public and about the public, it is important to hear from the public.  My interns have been out in the field asking people:

What is racism?

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.35.32 AMJoe, 18, New Jersey

Racism is a way to make decisions where race plays a prominent factor. In modern America racism takes many forms, from deciding where one sits on a bus to larger more systematic decisions like who goes to jail. Everyone acts racist at times. That does not make people bad, but polarizing and ignoring racism is where the problem lies. Racism is not going away, but in modern America we must learn to accept the fact that certain racial groups have historical disadvantages. Then we must start to make sense of it all.