2013 Saskatchewan Artist Award Recipient | Ruth Cuthand, Saskatoon

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Ruth Cuthand, Saskatoon

Ruth, a Prince Albert-born artist of Plains Cree and Scots descent, earned both a BFA and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. Through painting, beading, drawing, and photography, Ruth produces eclectic, often intense pieces exploring themes including colonialism, stereotyping, residential school abuse, and institutionalized racism. Trading, for example, uses delicate beadwork to depict the microscopic viruses carried by European traders into vulnerable First Nation communities. Inspiring critical thought through stark, sometimes jarring contrast is a primary intent behind her work.

Her work has shown in group exhibitions across Canada, and was included in the important Oh, Canada survey at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Regina's Mackenzie Art Gallery hosted her first solo show, The Trace of Ghost Dance, and her ambitious travelling retrospective, BACK TALK (works 1983-2009), has exhibited at galleries across Canada, including the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, and the Mount Saint Vincent Gallery in Halifax, and continues its tour through the fall. Its bilingual (Cree/English) exhibition catalogue was shortlisted for the 2013 Saskatchewan Book Awards, and features complementary essays by noted contemporary curators, including Joan Borsa and Lee-Ann Martin.

Ruth's art forms part of numerous permanent collections, including the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Mendel Art Gallery, Laurentian University Museum and Art Gallery, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (Ottawa), and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

Photo by Thirza Cuthand