North Dakota, USA

Hold These Truths

  • Still from We Are in Crisis, 2016
    Duration: 3:02
    Courtesy of the artist


Born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, multidisciplinary artist Cannupa Hanska Luger communicates stories of complex indigenous identities confronting 21st-century challenges, such as the environmental degradation of historic lands.

The compilation of short films included in the exhibition provide a nuanced understanding of his connection to Standing Rock and efforts for mediation.

Whereas We Are In Crisis serves as a gratitude offering to the water protectors opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline—a poetic yet urgent call to action—Dispatch from Standing Rock #3 documents the artist’s distribution of 500 mirror shields for the water protectors on the Oceti Sakowin camp, and the ensuing performance. Luger’s reflective mylar on ply-board mirror shields were inspired by women activists in the Ukraine who employed the tactic to reflect the images of riot police back at them. While the shields may not ultimately provide physical protection from water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas, they serve as a symbolic, preemptive and peaceful strike against armed security forces.