Artist nicholas b jacobsen works to untangle the genocidal practice of removing Indigenous people from their immemorial homelands.
Albuquerque, NM | nicholasbjacobsen.com | @nicholasbjacobsen
The artist nicholas b jacobsen, who uses they/them pronouns, realizes the impact of settler colonialism, especially in the area where the artist grew up—the traditional and spiritual home of the Nuwu people in what is now called Utah. They have committed their art practice to untangling the brutal and invasive genocidal practice of removing Indigenous people from their immemorial homelands.
“I am an artist and researcher dedicated to unsettling settler-coloniality, being a witness to whiteness, and mending the human/nature divide in dominant U.S. culture,” jacobsen writes. “My research is slow, embodied, and place-based, emphasizing the time and attention it takes to develop a lasting, visceral understanding of something. Through my work, I want others to come away with an open, ongoing, multisensorial curiosity about themselves and the multiplicitous worlds that are submerged within.”
The artist, who says they’re a seventh-generation Utah-Mormon, confronts whiteness, hetero-patriarchy, and human exceptionalism in works that encompass installation, performance, video, ceramics, sculpture, text, and digital collage. The pieces are often altered objects and imagery from jacobsen’s experiences as a white person, a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as a desert dweller. They say that their art highlights “the parts of these histories that are often left out of the myths of Christian and U.S. American innocence and supremacy.”
The artist, who has worked as an assistant to Japanese ceramic artist Jun Kaneko, holds an MFA in art and ecology from the University of New Mexico and a BFA in ceramics/sculpture from Southern Utah University. They have also been bestowed numerous honors, such as best emerging artist by the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards. Today, jacobsen continues scuffling with their personal, ancestral, and inherited ideological histories.
“I was raised near Navajo sandstone cliffs, the Virgin River, and the Pine Valley mountains in Nuwu (Southern Paiute) territory,” they say. “After leaving Mormonism, this land is where I reformed my spirituality. I am in love with someone else’s homeland.”