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An art installation created by Native artist Cannupa Hanska Luger has just been unveiled in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum last Friday that honors missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the LGBTQ2S communities affected by missing and murdered indigenous people.

The project, titled Cannupa Hanska Luger: Every One & Kali Spitzer: Sister consists of 4,096 large clay beads about the size of a baseball that were created by Native communities all over the United States and Canada that were then stained and strung together by Luger and arranged to show the image Sister (2016), which is a photograph of a Native woman taken by First Nations photographer Kali Spitzer.

Sister website image

The art exhibit is part of a collaborative project initiated by Hanksa called the MMIWQT Bead Project. In January of 2018, Luger released a video asking for support for the project.

According to Luska, all artist honorariums provided for exhibiting Every One is and was donated directly to the Native Women's Association of Canada where data for this project was sourced.

Luger got the number 4,000 from the Native Woman’s Association of Canada in 2016 when they had reported a potential number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women to be an approximate 4,000.

Luger addressed the collaborative efforts to create the project and thanked the communities involved in creating Every One.

This social collaboration re-humanizes large and abstract data through the process of creating handmade objects representing each life in the over 4000 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, as sourced from research by the Native Women's Association of Canada in 2016. Luger embeds the queer and trans narrative into Every One to bring awareness to the fact that Indigenous LGBTQ+ community members are not included in data collection around this issue, yet these communities are impacted at comparable alarming rates to that of women.

Sister bead project image from artist website

Gratitude to all communities who engaged in this work and supported raising awareness and honoring the Indigenous women, girls, queer and trans community members we have lost in Canada.

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Luger also cited that Indigenous women are murdered at 10 times the national average rate on some reservations in the U.S. and that the U.S. has “continued to do little about it.”

In an artist statement on Luger’s website, he said, “The materials that I use are emblematic of human civilization such as clay, textiles, steel and digital media. Clay signifies our connection to place, literally the ground on which we stand. We create textiles from plants, reflecting our truly embodied relationship between fiber and flesh. Steel has allowed humans to develop, build and dominate; it provides the physical structures for control and capital. And technology now provides an opportunity to question our civility and our connectedness through durational and situational media.


"Combining social collaboration with craft has become a primary technique. I use the methods of social media to create short call-to-action videos requesting objects to be created on massive scale. One such video resulted in communities building hundreds of mirrored shields as a tactic for front lines demonstration. Another involved disparate groups in the making of thousands of clay beads to commemorate lost lives.”

Cannupa Hanska Luger: Every One & Kali Spitzer: Sister will be available for viewing at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum until January 12th.

Exhibit information here:

As listed on his website:

Exhibition Timeline:

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.