Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2018-19

(Jersey City, NJ)Nyugen Smith

Project Description

Behold Your Horse is a performance that continues the long and important documented history of contemporary artists exploring spirit, and employing ritual through their negotiation of aesthetics, and conceptual language in parallel to their relationship to nature in their work. It is a durational performance (24 hours) that builds community through a celebratory sharing of food, music, dance, poetry and song. Through the contributions from those who are present, a new ritual is created for the preparation of my mind, body and spirit for possession to take place for the culminating performance wearing the Spirit Saddle.


Nyugen E. Smith is a Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist and educator who lives and works in Jersey City, NJ. His practice consists of performance, found object sculpture, installation, writing, and video. He is influenced by the conflation of African cultural and spiritual practices and the remnants of European colonial rule in the Black diaspora. From 2016-2018, Nyugen has traveled throughout the Caribbean for experiential research related to his practice. Locations included Trinidad, for the study of masquerade and performance during Carnival season and Martinique where he immersed himself in the study of language, fabrics and flags. While there, Nyugen was an invited artist in the International Festival of Performance Art. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts.

Images from left to right: SELF as Monument-acts of reclamation and mourning on the grounds of the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana; Untitled (With Flag and Fronts)- American flag, kneading bread-as body while meditating on the unarmed people of color killed by police; SELF Altar: audience pour oil/libation on my body.