Photo credit:Megan Conley
Julia Rose Sutherlandis a Canadian (Turtle Island) born artist who is a member of the Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation. She has an interdisciplinary practice which utilizes mediums such as photography, sculpture and performance. In 2013 Sutherland completed her BFA Alberta University of the Arts and in 2019 completed her MFA at the University at Buffalo. She has shown and participated in residencies internationally in Canada, USA, China and France. She currently resides in Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alberta) on Treaty 7 territory.
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.