Main Space Exhibition /
‘Time of Acquiring Learning’
Julia Rose Sutherland
November 12th - December 23rd
Opening Reception /
Saturday November 12th, 7PM- 9PM
In Conversation with Julia Rose Sutherland
Listen on Youtube:
Jasmine Piper talks with Julia Rose Sutherland about Sutherland's exhibition, GINA’MATIMG ‘Time of Acquiring Learning’.
*Content Warning: Police Brutality, Self Harm, Bodily Harm, Missing Persons, Adult Language*
Sutherland is using this opportunity to start a dialogue about the representation of Indigenous craft, questioning the canon of westernized gallery practices, authority, and decolonization practices. This work and practice challenge power structures and systemic racism (which actively hinder and oppress minorities) and push for dismantling white supremacy through active conversation and dialogue.
This exhibition included one community quillwork workshop at The New Gallery site.
Generous Pain, Denied Indulgence
That relationship with learning is further complicated when its preceded by barriers of trauma and genocide—when the people who would have shared their stories and abilities are denied the right to do so by violent force. When Indigenous communities on Turtle Island had the lands they cared for stolen, children abducted and murdered, and cultural practices banned, their colonizers intended to purge Indigenous peoples from history so settlers could determine the narrative’s retelling. And yet, Indigenous people persist.
Resilience is not an adequate word to describe confronting generations of harm, disputing a continued effort to historicize a living population, and criticizing the deeply held anti-Indigenous beliefs that run rampant in Canada. Resilience implies overcoming the hardships an unbiased universe proposes, rather than surviving a concerted effort to violate and destroy; both are admirable, but the latter is a necessity. Julia Rose Sutherland’s work is much more than resilient; it is haunting and beautiful, pointed and evocative, and encourages an appreciation for practices that are maintained rather than archived.
In her performance Gesipatl Iga’latl” (Pain and Release), porcupine quills pierce Sutherland’s flesh, rendering her body sacred and precious. She mirrors the beloved birchbark boxes that are delicately woven with quills by her Mi’kmaq community, honouring her people by using those same slender barbs against her skin and calling attention to the commodification of Indigenous bodies often denied dignity and life. Sutherland embodies a resonant autonomy because she is not an object for a glass case and her actions are not for you. They are a tribute and we are simply fortunate she has decided to share that moment with us.
In this, Sutherland compromises one of the foundations of colonialism. Rather than enabling the legacy of a white supremacist lens that would fetishize or exoticize her actions and maintain a hierarchy of power, she has repurposed the frame to reflect the strength of Indigenous peoples as they persevere and thrive. Simultaneously, Sutherland exposes the intimate ties between privilege and complacency as she bleeds to reconcile with Canada’s colonial history and honour her Mi’kmaq ancestors.
It is in Sutherland’s stoic gaze that we are denied any indulgence in her pain. Instead, we are asked to watch as Sutherland draws the explicit parallels between seeking colonially forbidden knowledge and the mutilation of her body, a spiritual gesture that is deeply tied to endurance and kinship in certain Indigenous ceremonies and does not abide by the comfort of an audience who may be unfamiliar with its significance.
In the end, Sutherland is generous with her rich metaphors and references, but it is up to us to learn from them. Her example provides insight into the terms we must embrace when addressing Canada’s colonial history that has largely been left to fester, and inspiration for the possibilities that lie ahead.
- Brandon Giessmann
Brandon Giessmann is a visual artist and writer who explores trauma, identity, and memory. He received his BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts in 2018 and his MFA at SUNY: University at Buffalo in New York in 2020. His interdisciplinary practice often uses performance, photography, and installation to bridge generational gaps in knowledge and experiences of the closet and genocide, consider the effects of the ongoing AIDS crisis, and reflect upon the role that institutions play in the conservation and presentation of queer histories.
中文翻译 Chinese Translation ...
Julia Rose Sutherland（1991年）是一位Mi'kmaq（Metepenagiag Nation）/定居者藝術家和教育家（OCADU的助理教授），居住在Tkaronto（加拿大多倫多）。 Sutherland 的跨學科藝術實踐採用了攝影、雕塑、紡織品和表演。她在Buffalo大學獲得了她的藝術碩士學位（2019年），在阿爾伯塔藝術大學獲得了工藝和新媒體的藝術學士學位（2013年）。她的作品在當代藝術雙年展 (BACA)、Bemis 當代藝術中心（她也是 2021 年夏季常駐藝術家）、Mackenzie Art Gallery、K Art Gallery、WAAP Gallery 和法國巴黎的59 Rivoli 畫廊展出。 Sutherland最近獲得了加拿大藝術委員會的 "創造-了解-分享 "獎和AFA的 "土著個人項目 "資助。
Julia Rose Sutherland 的展覽“GINA'MATIMG”是一個當代探索系列，顛覆了 Gawiei 的“quillwork”，靈感來自她作為龜島 Mi'kmaq 原住民婦女的傳統。 Gawiei 是一種用豪豬刺進行刺繡/裝飾的工藝。 Sutherland正在利用這個機會展開一場關於土著工藝表現的對話，質疑西方化的畫廊做法、權威和非殖民化做法的標準。這項工作和實踐挑戰了權力結構和系統性的種族主義（積極阻礙和壓迫少數群體），並通過積極的談話和對話推動拆除白人至上主義。 這個展覽將包括在新畫廊舉辦的一個社區quillwork工作坊。