History and New Futures

Objects From The Museum Of Human History
  • Jacob Yeates

10” x 12”, ink, conte, graphite, digital collage, 2021.

To view the entire zine, click here.

Artist Statement

Abolition asks what we can reimagine, rearrange, deconstruct and build from the ground up to create more equitable worlds. However, in order to thoughtfully move towards these futures we must always be aware of our individual and collective histories. How have we been led or forced to where we find ourselves currently, and how can we choose a different path in the here and now?

“Field Trip to the Museum of Human History” written in 2015 by author Franny Choi, offers a poetic glimpse into an abolitionist future, where a group of children view a museum exhibit featuring instruments of policing and prisons from a bygone era of punitive justice. Confronting with guns, cages, handcuffs, and other devices, the children reflect on the implications of living in a society viewing such tools as necessity, as well as how their world has since changed. The following drawing series, “Objects from the Museum of Human History”, takes its cue from Choi’s work, as a collection of five renderings and didactic notes of possible objects contained within Choi’s speculative exhibit. Attending to both critical histories and imagined futures, these images and voices from a different world examine what such devices were used for in the carceral past and, as such, asks viewers to consider their use in our present, and what it could mean to live without them.

Artist Bio

I am an artist-educator currently living and working in Minneapolis. I attended the University of Iowa, where I received my Drawing BFA and English minor in 2013, and received my MFA from MCAD with an emphasis in Drawing and Illustration in 2017, where I now currently teach as adjunct faculty. My work has been featured by Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, MPD150, The Matador Review, Paper Darts, Street Fight, IH8 WAR, Creative Quarterly, Illozine, Candid Theater Company and Little Village Magazine, as well as appearing in various exhibitions throughout Minnesota and Iowa.

Through modes of visual storytelling in the traditions of drawing, printmaking and illustrated journalism, my work looks to highlight past and contemporary moments of extremity in order to discuss larger issues of pervasive, sociopolitical oppression within the context of the United States and other colonial powers’ sponsorships of violence, and by extension, my and others’ culpability in these conditions—however subtle or overt said culpability may be. By combining analog and digital drawing methods with modes of fictional and historic nonfiction storytelling in easily-reproduced/distributed formats such as digital prints, zines and book-forms, I guide myself and viewers through thematically challenging circumstances via familiar methods of drawing, written word and illustration.

Since collaborating with the Minneapolis-based abolitionist group MPD150 in 2018, I have sought to direct a great deal of my artistic output and focus on specifically making apparent the harm of the United States’ model of punitive justice, and attempt to create projects that can arm audiences with additional knowledge regarding the generations of harm and contemporary manifestations of violent state projects. More at @anotherjacoby