Cuthand adds beaded image of coronavirus to art series
- Michelle Lerat | June 15, 2020
Ruth Cuthand brings forth the visual beauty of the coronavirus with a microscopic peek at the virus in her new art piece.
COVID-19 and other new viruses, such as SARS and H1N1, are featured in Cuthand’s Surviving series of beadwork pieces now on display at The Art Placement Gallery in Saskatoon.
“I’m interested in diseases of all kinds,” said Cuthand, a member of Little Pine First Nation. “From historical diseases to modern diseases and how diseases develop and change.”
Cuthand previously created beaded artwork of New World viruses in her Trading series. She is surprised to add a new virus art piece with Covid-19 that resembles new world viruses in terms of the fast spreading and far-reaching impacts it has had.
“I never thought that would happen.” she said.
Cuthand initially did not think Covid-19 would turn into a worldwide pandemic. She began working on the Covid-19 piece to add to her series when the virus appeared in Canada.
“I thought this is a new development in disease that’s happening right now. I started to bead them. I bead round ones that are eight inches across and have them framed,” she said.
“I started thinking about everybody talking about masks and how we should use (them) so, I bought a few and beaded smaller images of Covid-19 and glued them right onto the mask as a symbol for a pandemic that’s happening now.”
Throughout her career Cuthand has used various media to create art. She says lately her focus is on beading as it is very time consuming. She wanted to take something that was seen as a craft and make it art.
“I wanted to take the bead and turn it from being a small thing that’s not very important and turn it into a contemporary fine art and use it as a symbol for Indigenous people.” she said.
Cuthand finds the images of the virus on the internet. Some appear similar at a microscopic level.
“Some of them are so darn pretty,” she said.
Cuthand says she hopes First Nations communities are safe during this pandemic. She is glad to see measures in place such as quarantining the communities and placing roadblocks to monitor people who come in and out of the communities.
She is considering creating more Covid-19 pieces if there are more waves of the sickness.