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Jacob Meders

And It’s Built on the Sacred

And It’s Built on the Sacred is an installation by Jacob A. Meders (Mechoopda/Maidu) that reflects on the gentrification of Indigenous land and the handling of unwanted Euro-American religious objects.

May 8 - Oct 17, 2021

And It’s Built on the Sacred is an installation by Jacob A. Meders (Mechoopda/Maidu) that reflects on the gentrification of Indigenous land and the handling of unwanted Euro-American religious objects. The installation facilitates an open dialogue about discarded or unwanted objects like souvenirs and religious novelties, and reconsiders how meaning can be layered and reclaimed in these commodities. Meders has taken found objects, which have completed their cycle with their previous proprietor, and hand-painted traditional markings of Indigenous people on them. In doing this, he is asking if what is considered holy can also be considered sacred. In the center of the installation sits a circular dirt floor constructed by hand. By physically bringing earth indoors, Meders is reflecting on what is sacred, the loss or destruction of what is sacred, and how easily expendable the sacred can be. Combined, all the components of the installation “re-Indigenizes” or reclaims the gallery as a sacred space—layering old and new histories.

Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Julie Ganas, curator of engagement and digital initiatives.

About the artist

Jacob Meders (Mechoopda/Maidu), is an assistant professor in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Science at Arizona State University. In 2011, Meders established WarBird Press, a fine art printmaking studio that he operates as the master printmaker in Phoenix.

Meders’s work focuses on altered perceptions of place, culture, and identity built on the assimilation and homogenization of Indigenous people. This work often ties into current issues faced in Indigenous communities. His work continues to reexamine varied documentations of Native Americans through printing processes that hold onto stereotypical ideas and how they have affected the culture of Native people. Often using book forms and prints as a symbol of Western knowledge and the linear mind, Meders deploys them as a vehicle to challenge new perceptions of Native Americans. His work touches many interdisciplinary approaches and repeatedly plays with the boundaries of social engagement practices

Meders has exhibited his work in Divided Lines at IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) in Santa Fe; Agents of Change: An Exhibition of Artist’ Books with a Social Conscience in Gallery 31 at the Corcoran, Washington D.C.; Something Old, Something New: Nothing Borrowed Recent Acquisitions from the Heard Museum Collection at Heard Museum in Phoenix; Transcending Traditions at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Mesa; First Americans: Honoring Indigenous Resilience and Creativity at Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, Netherlands; and Mini Wiconi at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work is also collected by major universities and other institutions in the United States and internationally.

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