An accomplished, self-taught stone carver and sculptor, Joe Jacobs’s goal is to preserve in stone the legends of his people. Although he has spent most of his adult life as a labourer, he began carving, using homemade tools, after an industrial accident in 1974. Less than a year later, he had created more than 40 works that interpreted Iroquois legends and myths in both abstract and representational forms. Taking key elements and creating a flowing piece is Mr. Jacobs’ hallmark. Most of his work is in limestone, soapstone and ivory. Commissioned to create a piece for the House of Commons, Mr. Jacobs completed a 12×4 foot five-panel limestone relief in 1985, and saw it installed in the Member’s Entrance in 1986.
Mr. Jacobs was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Trent University in 1983, an Iroquois Arts Award in 1985, and the Order of Canada in 1989. His pieces are currently in collections at the Museum of Civilization, Department of External Affairs, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Joseph Brant Museum, Library Collection at Lanark, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, New College Collection at the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Whetung Ojibway Centre. He has also contributed to the National Film Board, the Olympic Games in Montreal, the Museum of Civilization World Tour and the Schoharie Museum of the Iroquois in New York. Joe Jacobs lives in Lewiston, NY.