Native Art Department International

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Native Art Department International is a Toronto-based collaborative project of the wife-and-husband pair of artists Maria Hupfield (b. 1975) and Jason Lujan[1][2] (b. 1971).[3][4] Together they curate group exhibitions in which they sometimes show and occasionally make work together as a way to counter the pigeonholing of contemporary art by Native Americans and people of First Nations descent.[5]


Hupfield is First Nations Anishinaabe Ojibwe,[6] and Lujan is Chiricahua Apache[2] and Mexican. Hupfield has said "It’s important for artists to generate and frame our own content so we’re not always looking at institutions to co-opt and define it outside of our awareness."[5] Lujan told the Tacoma Art Museum website, "There is a lot of value to Native artists representing anything they want today, not just their own cultures. The field is wide open. I think artists have a lot of good things to say about anything and everything, and there is plenty of room for all of that."[7]

In 2015 they established a blog that documents their activities as Native Art Department and publishes interviews with artists and scholars and articles on subjects of interest such as South African magazine Chimurenga and early Japanese American photographer Frank Matsura.[8] In addition to exhibitions, they have screened their work and curated those of others at Artists Space in New York.[9][10]

Curatorial projects[edit]

Exhibitions by Native Art Department International include

Curatorial projects in which their own work isn't a part include

  • "First Things Don't Come First," at the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, Durham, Ontario, Canada in 2017[14]
  • "Without Us There Is No You," a screening of six video works by indigenous artists at Artists Space to mark Art in America's inaugural indigenous contemporary art issue the same year[15]
  • "Oh So You've Had an Indian Friend?," an evening in 2018 celebrating the life and work of Diane Burns, with artist Sky Hopinka[16] and representatives from the organizations Amerinda, the St. Mark's Poetry Project, and the Endangered Language Institute at Downtown Arts[17]

Inclusion in group shows, residencies, and talks

Critical reception[edit]

In his interview of the couple about their work in the 2016 Brooklyn show "free play," Christopher Green of Hyperallergic noted the contrast between their individual styles. He described Lujan's use of the Zuni print as "graphically intense" and Hupfield's materiality as "soft."[5] A Swedish reporter said of their subsequent show "Chez BRKLYN" in Galerie Se Konst, "The artists ... put people at the center, shrinking the world and succeeding in showing how much we are one regardless of home address. It is inspiring, rich with energy, and hopeful. We hope these Brooklyn artists return soon."[22]


  1. ^ Sekeres, Ann Marie; Bradley, Quinn (February 14, 2008). "News: Fifteen Emerging Artists Present Challenging Views of Native America" (PDF). Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
  2. ^ a b Welton, Jessica, ed. (2007). Native Artists in the Americas National Museum of the American Indian Native Arts Program: The First Ten Years (PDF). National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. pp. 64–65.
  3. ^ "NAAR – Native American Artist Roster".
  4. ^ "Artist Talk: MARIA HUPFIELD".
  5. ^ a b c d Green, Christopher (June 9, 2016). "When You Tell Someone You're an Artist that Is Native, They Tell You Who You Should Be".
  6. ^ "28 January–14 May 2017 Maria Hupfield: The One Who Keeps on Giving". The Power Plant website.
  7. ^ "Contemporary Native Voices: Jason Lujan". Tacoma Art Museum website.
  8. ^ Lujan, Jason; Hupfield, Maria. "12/13/2016".
  9. ^ "Without Us There Is No You: Maria Hupfield, Jason Lujan, Jessica L. Horton Screenings & Art in America Special Issue Launch Thursday, October 12, 2017, 7 p.m." Artists Space website.
  10. ^ "Maintaining Good Relations: Native Art Department International (Maria Hupfield, Jason Lujan) and Christopher Green Audio Livestream Saturday, December 16, 2017, noon - 6 p.m." Artists Space website.
  11. ^ "Trestle Projects: Past". Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Galleri Se Konst Falun".
  13. ^ "In Dialogue: Works by Raven Davis, Raymond Boisjoly, David Garneau, Carola Grahn, Native Art Department International, (Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan), Nicole Kelly Westman, Duane Linklater, Tanya Lukin-Linklater, Amy Malbeuf, Nadia Myre, Peter Morin, Krista Belle Stewart". Art Museum of the University of Toronto website.
  14. ^ "Schedule and Program". The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film website. 2017.
  15. ^ Droitcour, Brian (October 23, 2017). "Without Us There Is No You: A Conversation at Artists Space". Art in America.
  16. ^ "2018".
  17. ^ a b Lujan, Jason; Hupfield, Maria. "2018".
  18. ^ "Event: The Racial Imaginary Institute: On Whiteness". The Kitchen's website.
  19. ^ Cornum, Lou (July 23, 2018). "How Whiteness Works: The Racial Imaginary Institute at the Kitchen". Art in America.
  20. ^ Hemispheric Institute (May 2018). "Cut Through: Reconfiguring Relationships Between Identity, Artmaking, and Movement Building".
  21. ^ "Events: 6:30 pm Sept. 17, 2018 Panel Discussion Dennis Redmoon Darkeem, Native Art Department International, and Jeffrey Gibson. Moderated by Johanna Burton". Drawing Center website.
  22. ^ Ekebjär, Cecilia (August 26, 2016). "Raketgevär, automatkarbiner och ... "känslan av en person" – utställning i Falun lockar".

External links[edit]