Ruth Cuthand is a Canadian mixed media artist of Plains Cree and Scottish ancestry whose practice includes painting, drawing, photography and beadwork. Born in 1954 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, she grew up in Alberta, where as a child she met artist Gerald Tailfeathers, who inspired her to become an artist herself. Through her anti-aesthetic stance, her work challenges mainstream perspectives of colonialism and the relationships between settlers and Indigenous people in a practice marked by a delicate balance of political invective and humour. Ruth is widely considered an influential feminist artist of the Canadian prairies and is lauded for her unflinching interpretation of racism and colonialism.
Ruth’s work is featured in many collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the MacKenzie Art Gallery. In 2013, she was recognized with a Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award. Ruth lives and works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
“Ruth Cuthand is an artist, mentor, teacher, activist, and mother, and member of Little Pine First Nation. Her career has been devoted to exploring the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous people in Canada and resisting the forces of oppression through the use of sharp intellect, biting humour, and powerful aesthetics. She is well-known as a leading figure in contemporary Indigenous art as well as a powerful voice in the Canadian art scene’s ongoing discussions of colonialism, racism, and reconciliation. Her influence, mentorship, and support of many artists, past and present, have been an important component in the building of an infrastructure for contemporary Indigenous art in Canada.”
Nominators: Jen Budney, Professional Research Associate at Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, Michelle Lavallee, Director of Indigenous Art Centre at Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, jake moore, Director of the University Art Galleries and Collection at the University of Saskatchewan
“Her influence, mentorship, and support of many artists, past and present, have been an important component in the building of an infrastructure for contemporary Indigenous art in Canada.”