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 Kaziah Hancock  (1950 - )

About: Kaziah Hancock


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Lived/Active: Utah/Arizona/Colorado      Known for: expressionist western portrait, landscape and animal painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist whose paintings reflect the lifelong rebellion against the polygamist culture into which she was born, Kaziah Hancock has become a noted painter and writer.  In 1999, she won the Directors Award from the Springville Art Museum in Utah for a depiction of Christ and The Last Supper.  The museum Director, Vern Swensen, described Hancock as "a woman of indomitable spirit---pushing the envelop [of art] in Utah.  . . .Her technique captures and is captivating, it gets right in your face and you can't ignore it." 

She works from a small, uncluttered studio on her Sweetwater Goat Ranch outside of Manti, Utah.  Her colors, applied with a palette knife and fine-finished with a brush, are "bold and vibrant", and mixed with the intention of incorporating opposites of light and dark, warm and cool.  Her subject matter relates to the wildlife and countryside she loves.  She asserts:  "I haven't led a prissy life and I don't relate to prissy subject matter. 

Kaziah Hancock was born in 1951 in a tent by kerosene light in Colorado City, then called Short Creek, Arizona.  During her  birth, the body of her recently deceased father, Joseph Heber Hancock, lay near her mother, Edith Kaziah Soderburg, and the family awaited a priest to provide pre-burial resurrection rites to Hancock.

The family was poverty stricken; the mother had little breast milk; and Kaziah was kept alive by her brother who brought her goat's milk.  Ultimately the family was rescued, and moved to Murray, a polygamous community in the Salt Lake Valley.  The girls including Kaziah were married to polygamists, and her husband was Bart Kanderhosh, whom she married when she was fourteen years old.

Beginning 1982, she worked on a book, Prisons of the Mind, which was published in 1997, and which caused her conflict with the Mormon Church fathers.  She also began devoting much time to her artwork.  However, she was exhausted by nightmares and memories of 18 years of living hell with an abusive husband.  After he died in 1992, she married Douglas Jordan, an art teacher at the University of Utah, and her life changed to a positive direction.  "Formally trained, he encouraged Kaziah to explore the total world of Art."  An artist she especially admired was J.C. Leyendecker.

She also had an ongoing love of goats and has nurtered many of them, saying the relationship with these animals has outlasted her marriage to Jordan, whose adoption of polygamy led to the end of their marriage when he brought home a second wife.  She equated the experience as being "raped mentally and spiritually". . .

However, she has stayed in Manti, where she had lived with Jordan, and maintains her independence.  Her paintings have been exhibited in the Provo Towne Centre Mall and include portraits and landscapes.

David Stafford, "The Goat Woman", Salt Lake City Weekly; September 28, 2000

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