As a Gala attendee, get first access to purchase a limited-edition print of artist Ruth Cuthand’s Surviving COVID-19, signed by the artist. All proceeds go directly to supporting the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s exhibitions and public programs. Only 100 prints are available!
Prints will be available for purchase the night of the Gala, or Gala attendees can buy now and pick up at the event. Gala ticket buyers will be sent an email with an exclusive access code, so be sure to keep an eye out!
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Part of the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection, Ruth Cuthand’s Surviving: COVID-19, translates the artist’s signature beadwork into a photographic edition intended to be shared with a broader community. It builds on her influential Trading Series (2009), in which she created seductive and sinister images of the viruses and bacteria brought by Europeans to the Americas, such as typhoid fever, chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, and, most devastating of all, smallpox. These hauntingly beautiful images expose the terrible exchange which saw glass beads traded for epidemics of disease, beauty for destruction, and in later times medical knowledge for cultural understanding. The Surviving series focuses on diseases that the artist has seen in her life-time, as she witnesses the continued survival despite the disproportionate effect this new virus has had on Indigenous communities both in Saskatchewan and elsewhere. The images also allude to a Cree understanding of the world; the word for bead in Cree is animate, pointing to Cuthand’s work—and the viruses they represent—as living beings.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ruth Cuthand was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1954, but grew up near the Blood Reserve in Alberta. A Plains Cree and Scottish/Irish artist, much of her work explores the frictions between cultures, the failures of representation, and the political uses of anger. Cuthand began her formal study of art in 1977 at the University of Regina, although her interest in art originated much earlier. Initially, Cuthand studied printmaking, but due to a chemical allergy she turned from the toxicity of printmaking methods to the practice of painting. She left the University of Regina to have her second child and returned to art school at the University of Saskatchewan, obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1983. She continued her training in the University of Montana’s Master of Fine Arts program in 1985, while producing her monumental series of dress paintings – a major breakthrough in her practice.
After obtaining her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, Cuthand expanded her practice to include drawing, photography, and beadwork. Cuthand has been the recipient of the Lieutenant Govenor’s Arts Award (2013), and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2020).