JULIA ROSE SUTHERLAND

Pain + Release.

JULIA ROSE SUTHERLAND

JULIA ROSE SUTHERLAND

About

Julia Rose Sutherland is a Canadian born artist who is a member of the Mi'Kmaq Metepangina tribe. She works interdisciplinary and utilizes mediums such as photography, sculpture and performance.

Sutherland Completed her BFA at the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2013 and completed her MFA at the University at Buffalo in 2019. She has shown and taken part in residencies internationally in Canada, USA, China and France. 

Sutherland navigates trauma and social issues associated with ongoing violence towards Indigenous populations in Canada. She addresses the systems of commodification, representation, worth, as well as the identity politics surrounding Indigenous Peoples of North America. With this, she fosters a dialogue regarding the treatment, representation, and voice of these marginalized communities. Often the work emphasizes concepts of loss, absence, alongside adapted Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation traditional materials and techniques. Sutherland desires to regain a sense of identity and push to engage a more mindful conversation around topical subjects such as addiction, mental health, feminism, and aboriginal identity politics. Through performative action she engages traditional and spiritual methods such as the act of smudging and physical acts of exertion to connect herself with the natural landscape and her spirituality.

Julia Rose Sutherland
Gesipatl Iga’latl (Pain and Release), 2019
Filmed performance with sound (video), Porcupine Quills, Baptism Dress
Runtime: 10:00 min.
Courtesy of the Artist

"Gesipatl Iga’latl” (Pain and Release) performance is an endurance piece that deals directly with the notions of lateral violence and alternative healing praxis done through endurance among Indigenous peoples. This work subverts the history of traditional Mi'kmaq craft (i.e. the use of porcupine quills and embroidery on cloth) Sutherland embellishes and punctures her skin by doing the gestures which mimics the cross “The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.” These radical gestures appear violent, but rather bring relief once the quills are removed and teased out of the skin, she begins to embroider the 8 pointed stars into her white baptismal gown, stands up from her bowing position and embraces the landscape which surrounds her.

Photo "Pain and Release" by Julia Sutherland.

Julia Rose Sutherland
Gesipatl Iga’latl (Pain and Release Series 1), 2020
Digital Print
12” x 18”
Courtesy of the Artist

photo: Gesipatl Iga’latl (Pain and Release Series 2), 2020.

Julia Rose Sutherland
Gesipatl Iga’latl (Pain and Release Series 2), 2020
Digital Print
12” x 18”
Courtesy of the Artist

RIP, Rodney Levi (Which Reads ‘FUCK THE POLICE’), by Julia Sutherland.

Julia Rose Sutherland
RIP, Rodney Levi (Which Reads ‘FUCK THE POLICE’), 2020
Part 1 of 3-Part Series
Gawiei/Porcupine quillwork (embroidery) on paper
9” x 12” (12” x 16” framed)
Courtesy of the Artist

On June 13th 2020, my Cousin Rodney Levi was shot twice in the chest by an RCMP officer during a wellness check-in Redbank NB. This quillwork on paper was started in a state of grief, confusion, deep hurt and sadness.

This three-part series reads as follows: FUCK THE POLICE, DEFUND THE POLICE, and REFUND THE COMMUNITIES.
The work has been created with the use of traditional materials of porcupine quills done as embroidery. It was done so to give tribute, to stay true with my heritage, to do something internal during a moment(s) of pain. Craftwork such as this takes considerable time, which lends itself to meditative thought, space to heal and clarity.

The process of quilling is a radical gesture and it itself an act of decolonization. The work addresses stages of grief felt by those who have lost loved ones due to police brutality/ senseless violence. These agonistic prompts open up space to question structures of authority within our society.

RIP, Rodney Levi (Which Reads ‘FUCK THE POLICE’), (detail).

RIP, Rodney Levi (Which Reads ‘FUCK THE POLICE’), (detail)

"FTP" by Julia Sutherland.

RIP, Rodney Levi (Which Reads ‘FUCK THE POLICE’), (detail)