PROPONENT: Urban Shaman, Inc.

PROJECT NAME: James Luna Performance - Words, Solos, Bridges & Breaks

PROJECT TYPE: Case study

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: As a special initiative, Urban Shaman will present a performance evening by James Luna and musician Arthur Renwick on Saturday, October 12, 2013.  This same date is also known as Columbus Day and marks the anniversary of Columbus’s arrival into the Americas. The show can best be described as a lesson in expressive bodywork that will respond to this notorious event through various actions, music and notable past performance works.

 James Luna is a Pooyukitchum (Luiseño) and Mexican-American performance artist and multimedia installation artist, living on the La Jolla Indian Reservationin North County, San Diego, California. Mr. Luna’s performance work covers the subjects of cultural identity, representation/history and the spiritual world, which are, approached head on, with biting humor and irony.  He uses a variety of media including made and found objects, moving image, and sound in his performance and installation work. His multi-faceted pieces challenge audiences to re-examine their perceptions of what it means to be Native American. Luna is an internationally recognized conceptual artist working with installation and performance. Luna’s work has been featured in the Whitney Biennale, the 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 National Museum of the America Indian for the Venice Biennale. 

PROJECT OUTCOME: Urban Shaman Contemporary Art is a nationally recognized leader in arts programming and one of the foremost venues for Aboriginal art in Canada. Presenting performance works by James Luna, one of North America’s most innovative Aboriginal artistic voices aligns with our commitment to strong programming and groundbreaking forms of exhibiting works by Indigenous artists. Presenting Mr. Luna’s performance work in concert with First Nations musician Arthur Renwick will add a visceral element to the audience’s experience.

Mr. Luna’s work stimulates discussion about the representation of Aboriginal peoples in popular culture and public discourse, which directly relates to our goals of expanding the dialogue relating to Aboriginal art and the appreciation of contemporary art as an important and empowering tool for Aboriginal peoples.

It is expected that, with music and performance, and the stature of the artists involved, this will be a high profile event for Urban Shaman and the Winnipeg arts community. Based on this, it’s anticipated that the results will include a higher awareness of the activities of Urban Shaman among the Winnipeg public. It is also expected that, with the provocative nature of the subject matter, the level of discourse around the issues of the portrayal of Aboriginal peoples in popular culture will be elevated locally.  



October 8th: (Tuesday) Arrive into Winnipeg

October 9th (Wednesday): Rehearse solo portion of the performance

October 10th (Thursday) Arthur Renwick arrives / rehearse with Arthur Renwick

October 11th (Friday): Rehearse with Arthur Renwick

October 12th (Saturday): Performance Event at Urban Shaman with Arthur Renwick

October 13th (Sunday): Depart for San Diego

TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS: Audio-visual equipment
for performance


Currently Urban Shaman has two interns employed within the organization both of which will be staying on until the fall of 2013. Both are graduate students and are in process of completing their PHDs in cultural studies, Erin Sutherland and Jessica Jacobson-Konefall, not only are their roles in the organization to develop the gallery archives and resource centre but also work with Daina Warren as curatorial assistants and will be on hand to assist with the coordination of the performance project.