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NISSING is a durational digital artwork where the viewer can watch as the sugar sculpture unfolds, melts and falls apart gradually over time. The work delves into themes of identity and erasure, particularly in relation to the ongoing colonial genocide of BIPOC communities in Canada. My approach involves creating sculptures with sugar molds that capture intricate human skin details while obscuring each face with brownish-red hues, deliberately homogenizing the cast's physical appearances to generate an ambiguous collective identity. My use of sugar practices, molding, and casting serves as a medium for conversation with my ancestors, and I utilize the forms to represent the countless missing and murdered individuals whose identities have been erased.

Through the accumulation of numerous sugar layers, my sculptures address familial, ancestral, and geological compositions, taking inspiration from the geological hoodoos found in badlands. These structures are made up of sedimentary rock layers that have accumulated over millions of years, and my sculptures aesthetically allude to this metamorphic process. By doing so, they pay tribute to the longstanding lineage and connection to the land that Indigenous Peoples have established, which is built upon a rich history of human and environmental layers predating European colonization.

New works found on site:

A durational digital artwork, where the viewer can watch as the sugar sculpture unfolds,melts and falls apart gradually over time.

“Elidqunet” (Braid/Weave) pulling 2023
Hand-pulled cotton Candy

Maple Sugar Sheet Portraits(gif)

As the user explores the digital website project, you may encounter hidden links, leading you to discover delightful surprises and gems from the creative process.

Julia Rose Sutherland
(She/They) is a Mi’kmaq (Metepenagiag Nation or Redbank NB, Canada) and half-settler artist. Sutherland is a storyteller and educator (Assistant Professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University based out of Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada). Sutherland’s interdisciplinary art practice employs photography, sculpture, textiles, and performance. She earned her MFA at the University at Buffalo (2019) and BFA in Craft and New Media at the Alberta University of the Arts (2013). She has recently exhibited work at the Power Plant Gallery, The New Gallery Artist-run center, the Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA), The Bemis Center of Contemporary Art, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the K Art Gallery, Visual Arts Center of Clarington, WAAP Gallery, and 59 Rivoli Gallery in Paris, France. Sutherland has received the Canada Council for the Arts Creating Knowing Sharing award and the AFA Indigenous Individual Project grant.

*Images courtesy of the artist