(b. 1950 and continues to live and work on
La Jolla Indian Reservation in San Diego County)
COMMISSIONED BY Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
James Luna, Urban (Almost) Rituals, Wellington, 14 May, 2009. Commissioned by Te Papa for One Day Sculpture. Photos: Stephen Rowe except for image #1 courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
(click to enlarge)
Urban (Almost) Rituals
Thursday 14 May 2009, 08:00-16:00
Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, Wellington
> Earlier this year Luna undertook his research visit to New Zealand. Check out the blog of his trip, written by Te Papa curators Charlotte Huddleston and Megan Tamati-Quennell here>>
> Click here for a map
> Click here for information from the Public Programme Event
Native American contemporary artist James Luna (Luiseño, Pooyukitchchum/Ipai) has brought to Wellington, Urban (Almost) Rituals, a performance/installation that speaks to Native survival in urban settings.
In replicating a sculptural rendition of the spiral found in Maori carving and his own culture, Luna brings voice to what he experienced of the daily native acts of life in the cities and rural communities during his visit to New Zealand. Using a variety of objects, musical mixes, traditional and contemporary performance scripted into four acts, Urban (Almost) Rituals operated as cave paintings, e-mail and tribal grape vine. Costumed in his self described character of the Shame Man the artist performed a series of actions and rituals as he forms the spiral, acting as circus ringmaster, court jester and occasional merchant of venom. Though tongue in cheek in appearance Luna raised serious issues that face us as individual peoples working towards cultural understanding in a divided world.
For over three decades James Luna has been creating visual art, interdisciplinary exhibitions and performances that are informed by his native culture, use modern technology and speak to current issues and declare them to be ‘authentic’.
Don’t be fooled that he is a nice (safe) Indian storyteller. His stories are both humorous and painful. They evoke ancient cultural values and provoke questions of contemporary native identity while debunking stereotypes.
The eight hour performance/installation was available via live webstream for the duration of the performance.
Commissioned by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
James Luna, End of Acoustic, 2005, from a faux rock & roll multimedia installation - All Indian
All the Time
Luna (Luiseno Indian, b. 1950) uses a variety of media including made
and found objects, moving image, and sound in his
performance/installation work. His multifaceted pieces employ humour
and irony to challenge audiences to re-examine their perceptions of
what it means to be Native American, calling attention to the
difficulties, complexities and challenges facing indigenous people
today. The resulting performances and works hold highly specific
references that also respond to universal concerns of place and
identity, more and more commonly experienced as a result of
globalisation and increasing migration.
is an internationally recognised conceptual artist working with
installation and performance. Luna's work has featured in the Whitney
Biennale, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, the National
Gallery of Canada, and the Nippon International Performance Art
Festival in Japan. In 2005 he was selected by the Smithsonian's
National Museum of the American Indian for the Venice Biennale.