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Puncturing Perceptions of Native Americans

The trick is allowing it out” internationally-acclaimed efficiency artist James Luna assured his crowd of listener’s at Friday’s gallery talk on the University of Southern Maine school. Standing amidst the Turtle/Television Island Task mounted at the College of Southern Maine Art Gallery and curated by Carolyn Eyler, Luna shared the behind-the-scenes stories, the life histories if you will, of each of the items on display screen, numerous of which are utilized as components in his efficiency installments.

Luna, a member of the Puyoukitchum (Luiseño) people based in La Jolla, California, shared that “People come in believing ‘I’m going to see Indian art. I’m not simply chatting regarding me and other Indians, but humanistic things, exactly how we associate to one another. Art can do that.”

Well, a minimum of Luna’s art can.

Luna is recognized for challenging his audiences by penetrating their assumptions regarding just what an “Indian” is or how one must look or act or even exactly how “Indian art” must show up. As I created in one more blog post on my Heritage in Maine blog, the very first time Luna pertained to my attention was in the very early 90s when I found out about his jaw-dropping performance installation called “Artefact Item.” In a dazzling critique of historical museum techniques of showing Native American bodies or interments in gallery screens, Luna outfitted in only a breech fabric, installed himself in a glass situation at the San Diego Museum of Man.

The theme of commercialization as well as exploitation of Native American spirituality is noticeable in one of the notable items on display. Luna clarified that “Damp Dream Catcher” expresses his aggravation with the selling of Native American spiritual items.

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