Photo credit:Megan Conley
Julia Rose Sutherland is a Canadian-born artist of Mi'Kmaq Indigenous descent from the Metepenagiag Nation, Canada. Her interdisciplinary art practice employs photography, sculpture, textiles, and performance. She earned my MFA at the SUNY University at Buffalo (2019) and BFA in Craft and New Media at the Alberta College of Art and Design (2013). As an Indigenous woman of Mi’Kmaq descent, her cultural heritage is a foundation for my artistic practice. Within her art practice, she engages with the trauma and social issues associated with systems of commodification, representation, and identity politics surrounding Indigenous Peoples of North America.
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 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. 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 Indiginous healing praxis and identity politics.
Through performative action, she engages traditional and spiritual methods such as the act of smudging and other physical acts of exertion to connect herself with the natural landscape and her spirituality. Sutherland draws attention to the way in which 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.