~From English Department Communications Intern Kaitlyn Phillips

Performance by Ram Nation at the unveiling of the new art installation by Cannupa Hanska. Ram Nation Drum Group is a Native American drum group comprised of CSU students, staff, and community members. The group was initiated to promote Native American traditions, to learn about the drum, and to serve as a support group. There are about 12 active members who perform at various pow wows and other community events.

This past Monday, CSU was visited by the very talented Cannupa Hanska, an artist based out of Santa Fe focused on creating modern Native American art. Hanska recently created an installation for CSU’s Duhesa Gallery, located on the second floor of the Lory Student Center; thanks to the combined efforts of the LSC and the Native American Cultural Center, Hanska was able to take part in a night of Native American culture here on campus, as well as present his work to the many students and community members in attendance.

The night began with a gallery walk, where attendees were encouraged to walk the gallery and enjoy the installations created by Hanska. The pieces themselves consist mainly of clay casts made to look like animal skulls, surrounded by different fabrics and clothes, and each piece included a sheathed knife at its bottom.


This was followed by a powerful presentation of drum and song performed by RamNation and an introduction to the artist, at which point Hanska began to explain what the pieces mean to him and why he created them specifically for CSU’s gallery.

“I began thinking about the kind of trophy cases that would present my art here, and trophies made me think taxidermy, and that led to the idea of animal heads as trophies or relics, hence the name of the installation: Reliquary, a collection of relics.”

He continued to say that, as a young artist, he noticed a lack of modern Native American artists creating modern Native art, something he described as a “cultural freeze.”

He describes a desire to unfreeze his culture, saying “I wanted to raise questions and have conversations that we hadn’t been having and make Native art here and now.”

The evening ended with a Q & A session with the artist and the Native American Cultural Center presenting him with a gift.

Cannupa Hanska’s installation Reliquary will be in the LSC’s Duhesa Gallery through June 1st; it is an intriguing and visually stunning display, so make sure you stop by and see it before this summer!

If you want to see more of Hanska’s work, he is supported by the Blue Rain gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and can be found online at cannupahanska.com.