Marianne Nicolson is an artist activist of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations. The Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw Nations are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak’wala speaking peoples) of the Pacific Northwest Coast. She is trained in both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and contemporary gallery and museum-based practice. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (1996), a Master of Fine Arts (2000) from the University of Victoria, as well as a Master of Arts (2005) in Linguistics and Anthropology and a PhD (2013) in Linguistics and Anthropology with a focus on space as expressed in the Kwak’wala language.
Nicolson works as a Kwakwaka’wakw cultural researcher and historian, as well as an advocate for Indigenous land rights. Her practice is multi-disciplinary encompassing photography, painting, carving, video, installation, monumental public art, writing and speaking. All her work is political in nature and seeks to uphold Kwakwaka’wakw traditional philosophy and worldview through contemporary mediums and technology. Exhibitions include the 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia; The Vancouver Art Gallery, The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Ontario, Museum Arnhem, Netherlands and many others. Major monumental public artworks are situated in Vancouver International Airport, the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan and the Canadian Embassy in Paris, France.