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Cannupa Hanska Luger: You’re Welcome

Cannupa Hanska Luger
Ozi Uduma, Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art at UMMA | Paul Farber, Director and Co-founder of Monument Lab | Presented in collaboration with Monument Lab With support from the U‑M Arts Initiative
September 22, 2023 — February 18, 2024
Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery

How do we Remember?

How do we remember on this campus? This is the central question asked in You’re Welcome, a dynamic three-part exhibition. The result of a multiyear collaboration with artist Cannupa Hanska Luger and nonprofit public art and history studio Monument Lab, You’re Welcome examines the foundational narratives of the land occupied by the University of Michigan and both national and global discourse on nationalism, land sovereignty, militarism, colonialism, and sites of memory.

The exhibition centers on GIFT, an experimental, time-based, commissioned work by Luger on the front facade of UMMA’s Alumni Memorial Hall which challenges institutional memory and the whitewashing of history. GIFT is accompanied by two indoor installations: Meat for the Beast (Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery), which delves into Luger’s artistic practice and the relationship between museum collections and resource extraction; and Monument Lab: Public Classroom (Art Gym), which examines formal and informal modes of memory on the U-M campus and beyond.

You’re Welcome explores the relationship between the Museum’s historic building, the land it stands on, and a long history of colonial narratives deeply embedded in public structures. It supports critical dialogues about the responsibilities of public institutions as cultural history makers and stewards, and it is a key component of UMMA’s ongoing efforts to challenge its history and practices to create an institution more reflective of its community and honest in its explorations of art, culture, and society.

About the Exhibition

Installation of the artwork GIFT by Cannupa Hanska Luger. Image shows in-progress work from the artist and crew as they paint the exterior of UMMA's building white
Photo by Ian Solomon

Exterior Commission


The centerpiece of the You’re Welcome exhibition, Cannupa Hanska Luger’s GIFT, is an experimental, time-based, commissioned work, responding to and challenging the University of Michigan’s origin story and the stewardship of the land it occupies.

In September 2023, Luger, a multidisciplinary artist and enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) and Lakota, painted the word “GIFT” in white porcelain clay slip on the columns of Alumni Memorial Hall, a neoclassical war memorial erected in 1910 that now houses UMMA. His point of departure is the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs, in which Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi tribes “gifted” land to the University that was then sold to found its endowments.

Learn more about GIFT, see photos, and an ongoing timelapse video below.

UMMA Staff Assists Visitor with Art Project
Photo of Monument Lab: Public Classroom by UMMA Staff

Classroom Space

Monument Lab: Public Classroom

How do we remember on this campus? In addressing this central question of the exhibition You’re Welcome, Monument Lab, a nonprofit public art and history studio, worked with lead artist Cannupa Hanska Luger, University of Michigan Museum of Art staff, and University students, staff, and faculty to gather hundreds of responses. Using 121 of these compiled responses as a starting point, this “classroom” acts as an exploration of memory itself—how we remember, the physical and ephemeral forms memories take, and how they come to constitute the campus itself. This classroom includes a broad range of ways we remember—instances of personal, collective, ancestral, speculative, and institutional approaches to memory.

About the Team

Photo by Liz Barney

Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger

Multidisciplinary artist Cannupa Hanska Luger is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), and Lakota. Through monumental installations and social collaborations that reflect a deep engagement and respect for materials, the environment, and community, Luger activates speculative fiction and communicates stories about 21st century Indigeneity. Luger is a 2022 Guggenheim fellow, recipient of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship Award for Craft, and was named a Grist 50 Fixer for 2021, a list that includes emerging leaders in climate, sustainability, and equity from across the nation.

More About the Artist



Photo by Ian John Solomon

UMMA Curator Ozi Uduma

UMMA Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art Ozi Uduma is a graduate of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and double majored in Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies. She has worked with UMMA since 2018, first as a curatorial assistant to Laura De Becker, UMMA Helmut and Candis Stern Curator of African Art, and was promoted to assistant curator in 2020. Uduma curated the Unsettling Histories (2021) exhibition and served as curator for UMMA’s presentation of Romare Bearden: Abstraction (2022). She co-curated the Wish You Were Here and We Write To You About Africa projects (2021). With Paul Farber, Uduma is a co-curator of You’re Welcome (2023).




Photo by Ian John Solomon

Monument Lab Director Paul Farber


Lead support for Cannupa Hanska Luger: You’re Welcome project is provided by  provided by Teiger Foundation, the U-M Office of the Provost, the U-M Office of the President, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, the U-M Marsal Family School of Education, the U-M Institute for the Humanities, Michigan Humanities, and the U-M Arts Initiative. Additional generous support is provided by Melissa Kaish and Jonathan Dorfman.

Additional support for Meat for the Beast and Monument Lab: Public Classroom is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Logo: Teiger Foundation
Logo: Michigan Humanities
Logo: U-M LSA Institute for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Arts