Cannupa Hanksa Reflects on his Indigenous Culture

Sculptor, crochet-er, philosopher CANNUPA HANSKA talks about the enduring strength and legacy of Indigenous cultures.

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

A: I was raised in a culture that is viewed externally as frozen in a historical past. In the past 200 years, the Indigenous populations of America have been subject to socioeconomic, environmental, and civil rights atrocities, yet we remain. As an artist, I wonder where these stories are? Who are the heroes of this survivance? What knowledge could be gleaned from our neglected experience? Through my work, I contribute to a collective present, so that future generations may have greater understanding of our ways of thinking, values and more.  I choose to recognize the splendor in our diversity and resiliency as Indigenous peoples today. To see the beauty of where we are now, shining at every point between the romanticized  ‘noble savage’ and the marginalized economic bastard. I recognize the value of tradition and the importance of adaptation. There is no separation between our art and ourselves. Each line is a song, each shape a story, every color is absorbed from the place that we stand. And the place that we stand remains sacred and holy.

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