Hailing from the La Jolla Indian Reservation in California, James Luna is best known for his performance and multimedia installation art, including the 1987 “Artifact Piece,” an award-winning installation/performance for which he posed lying down in a museum display case along with some of his personal belongings as cultural artifacts. In 2005 Luna represented the National Museum of the American Indian at the Venice Biennale. Having garnered numerous awards, including a 2007 Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, Luna is an artist whose work has been widely acclaimed for its challenging confrontations and innovative explorations of Native American identities and stereotypes.
During his time at Crow’s Shadow, James Luna collaborated with Master Printer Frank Janzen to create an original body of works on paper. In his series Sumojazz, Luna inserted himself into old images of Japanese sumo wrestlers. This action was both intervention and participation, calling attention to ways in which bodies of color are viewed as cultural identifiers. His second series of monotypes, Indian Edge, are vividly colored works of hard-edge abstraction. These works feature subtle nods to mountains and rivers, with boisterous color offset by more neutral metallic silver or gold inks.
Luna passed away in March of 2018, leaving a powerful and transformative legacy for the next generation of Indigenous voices.