Nikesha Breeze

Nikesha Breeze

Born: 1979, Portland, OR

Biography and Information

Biography
Nikesha Breeze works from an AfroCentric AfroFuturistic lens. Her artistic practice aspires to heal trauma along ancestral lines by reimagining the past to redesign the future.

The artworks from A Mutiny of Morning are vivid depictions of Breeze’s ongoing effort to reclaim language and power from racist literature—in this case, Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novel “Heart of Darkness”. Using blackout poetry, Breeze alters and reclaims the narrative.

The paintings in this exhibition are from the series Archival Portraiture: The Reclamation of the Black American Image. The portraits depicted in these paintings are sourced from rare daguerreotypes depicting Black persons which date back to the early 1800s. These portraits were often staged with fake backdrops showing fine European parlors or utopian nature scenes. The pairing of these idyllic backgrounds which contrast to the weary expressions of the sitters point to the stark reality of a pre-emancipation culture. Breeze renders these images, often of slaves, laborers, craftsmen, and children at human scale as a way to impart honor and recognition to Black ancestors who may have never received such acknowledgment in their own time.

Nikesha Breeze is an African American/Assyrian, interdisciplinary artist, painter, sculptor, performance artist, activist, and educator. She was an Artprize 10 Black Contemporary Arts Award recipient in 2018. Her work has been presented nationally and included in exhibitions at the Harwood Museum of Art, in Taos, NM, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts in Brooklyn NY.  She is a founding member of Earthseed Black Arts Alliance New Mexico. Breeze currently lives and works in Taos, New Mexico.

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. – Nikesha Breeze

Education
2017-2019
AFA, University of New Mexico-Taos

Solo Exhibitions
2021
Four Sites of Return, Form and Concept Gallery Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM
2020
RITUAL AND REMEMBERANCE, UNM Atrium Gallery, Taos, NM
2018
WITHIN THIS SKIN: New Oil Paintings, The Harwood Museum of Art: Studio 238, Taos, NM
2019
108 DEATH MASKS: A Communal Prayer for Peace and Justice, Inaugural artist for Black History Month, Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, NM

Selected Group Exhibitions
2020
CHARCOAL: Strokes of Vitality, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
AN OVERWHELMING RESPONSE, Curated by Carmen Hermo, A.I.R Gallery Contemporary Art, Brooklyn NY
2019
GIVE ME BODY!, DIVINE FEMME, MOCADA Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts, Brooklyn NY
2018
FERAL HOWL: A Feminist Response to Our Time, Freeform Art Space, Santa Fe, NM
2017
CURRENTS NEW MEDIA INTERNATIONAL ARTS: Opening Night, El Museo, Santa Fe, NM
CRYING OUT LOUD, curated by Micol Hebron, CCA Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
AHA FESTIVAL OF PROGRESSIVE ARTS, WITHIN THIS SKIN, 40 foot interactive installation, Santa Fe, NM
2016
FOUND, curated by Sarah Stolar, Atrium Gallery UNM, Taos NM

Selected Performance Art/Theater
2019
BLACK OBRONI, a solo Performance as a part of “ADeakyeabia_ENubueke”, Curated by VaBene Elikem Fiatsi, Alliance Francais, Kumasi, Ghana
THE ENCHILADA WESTERN, Collaboration with Guillerrmo Gomez-Pena, Paseo Contemporary Art Festival, Taos NM
BODY AS CONDUIT, In Collaboration with Guillerrmo Gomez-Pena and Balitronica Pena, Taos, NM
2016
CIRCUS LUMINOUS, Writer/Director/Set Design/Costume Design, THE Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe NM
2015
SEE/SAW, Wise Fool NM, acrobatics, aerial stilts, dance, Bogota, Colombia
2014
TEARS OF EROS, Penasco Theater, Penasco NM
FLEXION, Wise Fool NM; acrobatics, aerial stilts, dance, Atlanta, Georgia
2013
SEARCHING FOR SHAMS, AhA Festival of Experimental Arts, Santa fe, NM
2012
EMERGENCE, AhA Festival of experimental Arts, Santa fe, NM
2010
EARTH MANDALAS, Aztec Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Collections
Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Collection
David Naylor Interiors
Aries Rhysing All Sacred

Awards
2020
“WE RECOGNIZE YOU” GRANT RECIPIENT, Three sisters collective, Santa Fe NM
Vermont Studio Residency Fellowship Award, Paseo Taos, Taos, NM

2018
3D Juried Award Winner, ArtPrize 10, DeVos Place Convention Center, Grand Rapids, MI
Black Contemporary Arts Award Winner,DeVos Place Convention Center, Grand Rapids, MI

Residencies
2021
Vermont Studio Residency
Map of La Soldadera: An AfroFuturist guide book of AfroMexico, Paseo Project, AfroMexico

2019
Osramba Studios Artist Fellowship with Kwame Acoto Bamfo, 5 week Sculpture Residency, Ada, Ghana
2019
PaIR Perforcraze International Artist Residency, 2 weeks Performance Art Residency, Kumasi, Ghana
2015
6 Month Artist Residency, Penasco Theater New Mexico, Penasco, NM

Press
2021
American Art Collector Online, April, 2

2020
Maria Manuela, New Mexico Magazine, November 6
Michael Abatemarco, Karsten Creightney at Richard Levy Gallery, Pasatiempo in Santa Fe New Mexican, October 30
Lynn Black History and a Reimagined Future, Tempo Magazine, Taos News, January 22
2019
Jordon Eddy, Return to Blackdom, Southwest Contemporary, March 27
Dena Miller, What is ‘identity politics’?, Tempo Magazine, Taos News, June 25
2018
Collegiate Staff, ArtPrize artist highlights the reality of “black death”, The Collegiate, September 28
Maria Egolf-Romero, A Conjuring of Self: Nikesha Breeze, UNUM Magazine, August 12
Jordon Eddy, Nikesha Breeze: Within this Skin, Southwest Contemporary, June 1

Press Release
2020 CHARCOAL: Strokes of Vitality at Richard Levy Gallery