Participation In: Something to Hold Onto by Cannupa Hanksa Luger

As a follower of Cannupa Hanksa Luger's work, I saw his call to action for empathy through his project Something To Hold Onto. (To read more about his project, see below) I wanted to extend this invitation to people in my own community of Central Ohio. In creating a space for participation it was important to me to provide space for meditation over what was being asked of participants.  I orchestrated a period of reflection and reading of Luger's writing prior to the creation of the imprinted beads.  At the time I was apart of a fellowship at Columbus Printed Arts Center which encouraged me to connect with Minus Plato (aka Richard Fletcher) and Eric Rausch, owner of Kiln Room.  The Kiln Room provided space and materials while Minus Plato provided emotional and organizational support.  

SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO, a project by Cannupa Hanska Luger

(text from artist's website)

According to Border Patrol statistics, more than 7,209 human beings have died while crossing the southwestern border of the United States over the past 20 years. The International Organization for Migration has recorded the deaths of nearly 25,000 humans attempting to migrate across the globe’s imposed borders since 2014. Both numbers are vastly underestimated; both are unfathomable.

Something to Hold Onto considers ancestral migratory routes and the lands of Indigenous peoples affected by imposed borders, acknowledging all asylum seekers, tribal lands, longstanding relationships to land and migration as cultural practice. This intersectional project highlights the impact of borders on Indigenous bodies and how, across the continent, our migration routes have been traumatically interrupted through incarceration and death.

Something to Hold Onto will incorporate more than 7,209 handmade beads as a way to collectively re-humanize this large, abstract, and dehumanizing data. We invite your communities to make and contribute clay beads, honoring lives lost along the now unsafe migration paths of Indigenous people.

This collective call to action is not designed to confront policy change, but creates an opportunity to embed handmade earthen objects with empathy -- from nation to nation, from human to human. These small clay objects embedded with a fist print, will string together a line of solidarity, building global consciousness around Indigenous peoples and our connection to movement and land. In opposition to the incarceration and militarization that separates geography, Something to Hold Onto pieces together people and places in a tapestry of borderless compassion.