Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1996

James Luna
(American | Luiseño, born 1950, died 2018)

Location: University of Washington, Seattle


Half Indian/Half Mexican is a three-part self-portrait by artist James Luna (Luiseño). The composition references visual stereotypes associated with the artist’s Native American and Mexican heritage. This piece confronts our preconceptions about cultural identity and representation.

This artwork is part of a collection of artworks located in the University of Washington's Kane Hall. The collection pays tribute to the diversity of UW's campus community and features nine artists whose art explores identity. Student leaders from the UW Minority Think Tank were involved in the selection of the artworks in 2005.

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with University of Washington.


James Luna (Luiseño, 1950-2018) was a performance artist, photographer, and multimedia installation artist. His art explores and challenges stereotypes of Native American peoples, especially in our modern world. Humor and irony play important, healing roles in Luna's work.
Luna lived on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Southern California. He was of Luiseño, Payómkawichum, Ipi, and Mexican heritage. Luna earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of California at Irvine in 1976 and a Master of Science degree in counseling at San Diego State University in 1983. He taught art at the University of California, San Diego, and spent 25 years as a full-time academic counselor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. In 2011, he received an honorary doctoral degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico.

Material CategoryWork on paper - photograph
MediumGelatin silver print on Masonite board
Dimensions14 in x 10 in x 1 3/4 in
ID NumberWSAC2005.024.00A-C
Acquisition MethodCurated Selection
Artist LocationCalifornia, United States
Location Information
AgencyUniversity of Washington
Artwork LocationUniversity of Washington
Kane Hall (KNE), First Floor Lobby (4069 Spokane Lane, Seattle)
WA CountyKing
Site TypeUniversity
Address15th Ave. NE, between NE Pacific St. and NE 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98195
Geo. Coordinates47.656565, -122.309421
Before VisitingSome artworks may be located in areas not accessible to the general public (especially in K-12 public schools). Consider contacting the site prior to a visit to ensure access.
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