‘Each/Other’ collaboration on display until August

Denver Art Museum exhibit features works of two Indigenous artists

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“Each/Other” is the first exhibition to feature the works of contemporary Indigenous artists Marie Watt (Seneca, Scottish, German) and Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, European) together and the Denver Art Museum will run it through Aug. 22 — a perfect show for viewers of any age and from Colorado or anywhere else in the world.

The exhibit is contained in size — 26 mixed-media sculptures, wall hangings and large-scale installation works, along with a large artist-guided community artwork, also named “Each/Other.” Discover new works now — part of a whole new genre and perhaps later in the fall, plan to visit the familiar Native American collection when it reopens to consider possible connections ...

Both artists focus on collaborative art making in their practices, but this exhibit is the first time they have worked together.

Denver Art Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts John Lukavic writes in his catalogue introduction of a “seed” planted in his mind at a late-night Manhattan arts event where both artists were present and met for a first time.

“Family is a deep bond ... an essential part of both Watt’s and Luger’s practices and is what helped them develop deep bonds with one another, and with me,” he writes. “They create and amplify platforms for shared experiences ... When we see collaboration in these broad terms, our eyes are open to the land, animals and processes with which we sometimes unknowingly collaborate — or even harm.”

Watt, who lives in Montana, had been an artist in residence at DAM in 2013, leading quilting circles and exploring textile art from her unique perspective on collaboration ...

Luger, a New Mexico resident, had a history of collaborative works as well, including a floor to ceiling piece, “Every One” (2018), created with large clay beads, each individually created to represent one of the many missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and transgendered people in Canada.

Lukavic began to think about a collaborative show as he enjoyed the lively crowd and we are fortunate to experience the result!

Catalogue author Jami Powell writes about her initial difficulty of placing these artists within any predetermined categories of Indigenous art.

“By grounding their work within Indigenous understandings of place, relationality and materiality, Watt and Luger refuse Western art historical categorization and argue for a consideration of art as inseparable from our humanity,” she writes. “While we tend to think in terms of reservations, nearly 80% of us do not live on one,” Powell said, as she talks of a new space they and other contemporary BIPOC artists are creating.

The centerpiece of this exhibit is a participatory sculpture, also called “Each/Other,” a large-scale she-wolf, with a pelt stitched from hundreds of bandannas, contributed by more than 700 people who answered their call.

According to the catalogue, “Contributors were instructed to take a bandanna-sized piece of fabric, fold it in a triangle and embroider a word, message or visual sentiment that is meaningful to them during this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and mail their creation to the artists. They were stitched into a giant animal pelt at Portland Garment factory, a woman-owned and environmentally-conscious fabrication studio. It was then draped over an armature created by Neal Fagan from the artist’s design.” Onsite, Watt and Luger “welded the head, handstitched the bandanna submissions onto the she-wolf’s body and embedded ceramic eyes, bringing this monumental canine figure to life.”

It is described as “Steel, wool, bandannas and embroidery thread 12x20x9 ft. (approximately).”

Plan to pay this she-wolf a visit this summer:

Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Ave. Parkway (just west of Broadway). Parking garage, on 12th as well as neighborhood spots. Open daily. Ticketed.

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