Renowned Plains Cree artist and University of Saskatchewan alumna Ruth Cuthand will be on campus this summer to help inaugurate the new Indigenous Artist-in-Residence program of the University Art Galleries in a partnership with the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre and Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
Cuthand (BFA’83, MFA’92) will be in studio at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of September. Her art addresses themes of colonialism, the history of abuse in residential schools and Indigenous representation in mainstream media and in Canadian politics. She is also in residence at Wanuskewin over the summer.
Everyone is welcome to drop by the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre to talk with Cuthand about her art and to learn and work alongside her. Further developments in the residency program will be announced in the near future.
Cuthand has built up a prodigious body of work in a wide variety of media, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and video. Her works are united by a distinctive, raw aesthetic and ongoing focus on the legacies of colonialism and Indigenous-settler relations in Canada.
Her first solo exhibition, “S. Ruth Cuthand: The Trace of Ghost Dance,” was held in 1990 at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Since then, she has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions. Her nationally acclaimed retrospective exhibition, “BACK TALK (works 1983–2009),” curated by Jen Budney for the Mendel Art Gallery, toured Canada. Budney has called Cuthand’s voice as an artist “honest, fierce, intelligent, political and darkly humorous.”
Cuthand has been a mentor to many young artists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. She taught art and art history at First Nations University of Canada for more than two decades, demonstrating traditional beading alongside contemporary art media. She has been an advisor and board member at TRIBE Inc., Canada’s first Indigenous artist-run organization, and has collaborated with curators at AKA artist-run centre and the Red Shift Gallery.
Cuthand, who was born in Prince Albert, Sask., and grew up throughout various communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta, was a recipient of the Saskatchewan Artist Award at the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards in 2013. In 2016, she was named as one of the College of Arts and Science’s Alumni of Influence.