Jeff Thomas Photo-based Storyteller
Ottawa, Ontario

Jeff Thomas, Photo-based Storyteller

Jeff Thomas is a self-taught photo-based artist, writer, public speaker, and curator. He has works in major collections in Canada, the United States and Europe. Jeff's solo shows include Birdman Rising, A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, The Dancing Grounds, and Resistance Is NOT Futile. He has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera; Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989; Land/Slide: Possible Futures; SAKAHÀN; and UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas. He has received the Canada Council's Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, the Karsh Award in photography, and a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, and he has been inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. An urban-based Iroquois, Jeff was born in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

jeff-thomas.ca

“There is no one I admire more than Jeff Thomas. His intelligence, generosity and integrity underpin and inform every aspect of his art, which he uses to make sense of and improve the world. Jeff’s work has changed how we see the world and given us intellectual tools for critical agency that we cannot afford to be without.”

— Dr. Richard Hill, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

“Jeff Thomas is an artist, writer, curator, teacher, and above all an amazing intellectual dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of Indigenous ways of knowing and communicating. Over the course of nearly four decades, his work has moved innumerable young artists, elders on reserves, tourists visiting national museums, school children, academics, filmmakers, and members of the public.

I am consistently moved and challenged by the manifest hope that Jeff Thomas reveals in all his work; by contemplating rather than condemning even the most painful histories, individuals and communities can heal and learn.”

Nominator:
Jen Budney, Independent Curator and Critic, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Saskatchewan

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See this artist’s work in the Art Bank collection

“I am consistently moved and challenged by the manifest hope that Jeff Thomas reveals in all his work; by contemplating rather than condemning even the most painful histories, individuals and communities can heal and learn.”

Selected works

Jeff Thomas, This Is Not Nostalgia, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 x 101 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Jeff Thomas. A triptych containing two recent photos of Indigenous people on either side of a painting of an Indigenous person in traditional dress.

Jeff Thomas, This Is Not Nostalgia, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 101 cm. Collection of the artist

Jeff Thomas, White Corn, detail from panel, 1990, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Jeff Thomas. A black and white photo of ears of corn drying outdoors.

Jeff Thomas, White Corn, detail from panel, 1990, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist

Jeff Thomas, Greg Hill @ The Champlain Monument, 2001, colour photo, chromogenic print, part of "Seize the Space" series,, 81.0 cm x 65.0 cm. Banque d’art du Conseil des arts du Canada. Photo: Jeff Thomas. An Indigenous man on one knee on the base of a statue of Champlain.

Jeff Thomas, Greg Hill @ The Champlain Monument, 2001, colour photo chromogenic print, part of "Seize the Space" series, 81 cm x 65 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection

Jeff Thomas, North American Indian, 2018, colour photograph, 85 x 102 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection. Photo: Jeff Thomas. A figurine of an Indigenous man in traditional dress in front of a semi-trailer truck.

Jeff Thomas, North American Indian, 2005, colour photograph, 85 cm x 102 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection

Jeff Thomas, Traditional Powwow Dancer Joseph Crowe, Saultaux, 1990, colour photograph, 50.5 cm x 40.5 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection Photo: Jeff Thomas. A powwow dancer of the Saultaux Nation in traditional dress.

Jeff Thomas, Traditional Powwow Dancer Joseph Crowe, Saultaux, 1990, colour photograph from "Strong Hearts" series, 50.5 cm x 40.5 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection

Jeff Thomas, The Doctrine of Discovery, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Jeff Thomas. A photo triptych showing a young Indigenous man with a T-shirt illustrating the European discovery of the New World.

Jeff Thomas, The Doctrine of Discovery, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist

Jeff Thomas, The First Spike, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 x 137 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Jeff Thomas. A triptych made up of a recent photo, an old photo and an illustration, all three focussed on trains.

Jeff Thomas, The First Spike, 2018, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 137 cm. Collection of the artist

Jeff Thomas, Traditional Powwow Dancer Joseph Crowe, Saultaux, 1990, colour photograph from "Strong Hearts" series, 50.5 cm x 40.5 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection

Jeff Thomas, Returning the Gaze: Kevin Haywahe – Assiniboine, 2003, colour photograph from "Strong Hearts" series, 118 cm x 167 cm. Canada Council Art Bank collection

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