Through a dedicated interdisciplinary and inter-relational practice, my work weaves together painting, sculpture, literary reclamation, film, and physical performance, each modality communicating with and responding to the other. Working from an Afrocentric and Afrofuturist perspective, my work reimagines the ability to heal the intergenerational traumatic inheritance of black and brown bodies within realms of past, present and future. Through deliberate ritual engagement with the materials and my own body, I seek to create living relationships with the ancestors themselves. Layering historical symbolism and anti-historical imagery throughout the work, the images are experienced as both talisman and access point. Working with the art process in this way, I imagine a spiritual transference within the work itself that has the potential to invoke a literal healing within the ancestral lines and within each of the people who experience the work. I follow in the footsteps of artists such as Betye Saar, Alison Saar, Nick Cave, Anselm Kiefer and all artists who attempt to bridge across the spiritual and ritual relationships of image, society, and history. My work calls upon ancestral memory and archival resurrection to bring to the fore faces, bodies, stories and spirits that have been systematically erased from the master narrative.
I identify as a black femme presenting intersex body, a mother, queer, and alive. These truths weave themselves throughout my work. I am inseparable from them, just as I am inseparable from the skin I am in. My work seeks to engage the viewer in a relationship of the soul. A personal act of witnessing and being witnessed. I speak directly to the heart of issues such as race, sex, power, gender and human suffering at the same time as evoking a sense of the sacred and irrepressible urgency of the human spirit. My Art is an act of conscious resistance. Art must ask questions. Art must risk. I believe if art is not risking something, then it can only call back unto the known, and the known grows tired with itself in time. Art must not be afraid. Art must live and breath at the very edge of being, inside the wound of all of human suffering and human beauty. The power of art is not in its ability to be a mirror for society, but in its ability to show what is hidden under the layers, and to speak from that place to all that is.
As I mature as an artist, and as a human being on this planet, I am realizing that everything I do is actually just One thing. My art making, my teaching, my mothering, my process building, my research, my relationships... everything is One. There is not a single word that can describe it, nor would I want there to be. All I can say is that it is a form of Loving. Of Returning. Of Shaping. Of Reclaiming and Remembering. In my art, which is my life, I want to touch the world, as I am touched. Wound touching wound.
In the words of Octavia Butler, "All that you touch / You Change. // All that you Change / Changes you. // The only lasting truth / is Change. // God / is Change."
Within an active interdisciplinary practice of oil painting, sculpture, installation, film making, and performance art, Nikesha Breeze (b. 1979) investigates the interrelationality and resilience of the black and queer body in relationship to history, vulnerability, the sacred, and the ancestral. Breeze’s work is ritual and process based, often employing her entire physical body in the action of the work. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Nikesha Breeze lives and works in the high desert of Taos, New Mexico. She is an American born African Diaspora descendant of the Mende People of Sierra Leone, and Assyrian American Immigrants from Iran.
Nikesha Breeze. [Anonymous African American Man and Child; 1856], 2020.
Oil on canvas with cold-cast bronze frame. 79” x 67”. Courtesy of the artist.