Photo credit: Jasmine Jones
@Julia.rose.sutherland (Instagram)

Artist Bio:

Julia Rose Sutherland, born in 1991, is a storyteller,  interdisciplinary artist, educator and Assistant Professor at OCADU in Toronto, Canada. She is of Mi’kmaq (Metepenagiag Nation) and settler descent. Her art practice encompasses a wide range of mediums, including photography, sculpture, textiles and performance. Ms. Sutherland received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University at Buffalo in 2019 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft and New Media from Alberta University of the Arts in 2013. Her works have been showcased internationally recently. She has had exhibitions at the Bemis Center of Contemporary Art, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, the K Art Gallery, the WAAP Gallery, and 59 Rivoli Gallery in Paris, France. Her talents have been recognized with several awards, including the Canada Council for the Arts Creating Knowing Sharing award and the AFA Indigenous Individual Project grant.

Artist Statement:

Sutherland navigates trauma and social issues associated with her Indigenous roots as a Mi'kmaq woman of the Metepenagiag Nation of Canada. She addresses the systems of commodification, representation, value, and the identity politics surrounding Indigenous Peoples of North America. With this, she fosters a dialogue regarding these marginalized communities' treatment, representation, and voice. The work often emphasizes concepts of loss and absence, alongside adapted Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation traditional materials and techniques. Through her work, Sutherland reconnects a sense of identity and pushes to engage a more mindful conversation around topical subjects such as addiction, mental health, feminism, and Indigenous healing praxis and identity politics.

Through performative action, she engages traditional and spiritual methods such as smudging and other physical acts of exertion to connect herself with the natural landscape and her spirituality. Sutherland draws attention to how colonialism, postcolonial trauma and economics have had an everlasting effect on Mi'kmaq spiritual wellbeing, mental health, and health inflictions such as diabetes and heart disease.