A wide image depicting three scenes: a light presenting hand bouncing a metallic cup, plumes of illuminated smoke rising from a forest, and the edges of a colorfully patterned garment stirring gently under water.

Alex Jacobs-Blum, The land we are and have always been //tsih.sa:né:yohs (when you are healing), 2020. Digital photograph.

Introducing Alex Jacobs-Blum, Indigenous Curatorial Resident

Hamilton Artists Inc. (the Inc.) is thrilled to welcome Alex Jacobs-Blum as its inaugural Indigenous Curatorial Resident. Alex was selected from many talented and inspiring applicants by jurors Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Sahra Soudi, and Naomi Johnson. They were deeply moved by Alex's strong ethics, her desire to build reciprocal relations, seek ongoing consent, and her first-hand experiences as an emerging artist and curator.

The Inc. is committed to providing a space for creative exploration, experimentation, and risk-taking by taking an intersectional approach, identifying and removing systemic barriers, and supporting artists and art practices that reflect the people of our region. The Indigenous Curatorial Residency at the Inc. is a new program for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit curators at all stages of their careers. Running every two years, the program will cultivate opportunities for Indigenous practitioners to grow their practice through long-term support. Over the next 15 months, Alex will be supported by the gallery and her mentors in pursuing extensive research to develop her project from the idea phase through to public presentation. Read on to learn more about Alex in her own words.

My name is Alex Jacobs-Blum, Lower Cayuga Nation of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and mixed-European, and I am an emerging artist and curator based in what is now known as Hamilton. My photo-based practice explores the duality of my identity through visual storytelling. By focusing on the land that has sustained my family for generations, I navigate Indigeneity, reclamation, resiliency, and healing, while challenging colonial structures.

I am honoured to be the recipient of the Inc.’s Indigenous Curatorial Residency. I am deeply passionate about Indigenizing/ decentering colonized spaces, Indigenous sovereignty, Land Back, and uplifting Black, Indigenous, and youth of colour. These themes are anchored within my artistic and curatorial practice, inspiring me to push boundaries and disrupt institutional space to ensure a better future for generations to come.

During this residency, I am interested in exploring the ways in which Indigenous artists utilize ancestral and contemporary knowledge to build First Nations, Inuit, and Métis futurities. My goal is to create a safer space that is in direct consultation with Indigenous community. I hope to inspire new generations of makers and creatives living on reserve and within urban settings.

Hamilton is situated 30km from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and 50km from Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Through the residency, I strive to bridge a gap between these communities and the arts in Hamilton. It is important to me to engage with my community of Six Nations and with Mississaugas of the Credit to celebrate Indigenous excellence and resiliency. It is critical to strive towards a future with Indigenous sovereignty, Land Back, and decolonizing institutions. I am inspired by my family and kin across Turtle Island to motivate change individually and collectively. I want to see a safer and more equitable future for the seven generations to come.

The Indigenous Curatorial Residency offers me an incredible opportunity to build and foster relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities locally and regionally. I look forward to collaborating and engaging in dialogues with Indigenous community, creatives, and the Inc. team. 

Nya:węh gowa/ thank you so much! 


Check out some of Alex's work here:

Read the interview with Alex published in the Hamilton Spectator on June 8, 2021: "Alex Jacobs-Blum chosen as Hamilton Artists Inc.’s inaugural Indigenous curator in residence."