OctoberOct 03 2019 07:00pm

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Thirza Cuthand Is: Video + Performance By Thirza Jean Cuthand
Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street, Thursday, October 3, @ 7PM

WNDX is thrilled to host Toronto-based artist Thirza Jean Cuthand in Treaty 1 Territory for a partial-retrospective screening of her experimental video and performance work. Since the mid-90s, Cuthand has produced a fearless and iconoclastic body of work, marked by a DIY sensibility and sharp critical wit, exploring themes of sexuality, identity, mental illness, the environment and Indigeneity. Her frequently diaristic films center her voice and body, resulting in deeply personal reflections of queer and Indigenous experience within the larger narrative of Canada’s settler colonial history. This program of eight videos is followed by Extractions, a new performance by Cuthand regarding extractive and exploitative industries and their reverberation through the lives of Indigenous peoples.

BIO: Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Her work has also exhibited at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015. In 1999 she was an artist in residence at Videopool and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg, where she completed Through The Looking Glass. In 2012 she was an artist in residence at Villa K. Magdalena in Hamburg, Germany, where she completed Boi Oh Boi. In 2015 she was commissioned by ImagineNATIVE to make 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99. She was also commissioned to make Thirza Cuthand Is An Indian Within The Meaning Of The Indian Act by VIMAF and Queer Arts Festival in 2017. In 2018 she was commissioned to make the video Reclamation by Cinema Politica in the Documentary Futurism Next 150 project. In the summer of 2016 they began working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on her experience learning and dealing with her bipolar disorder. It showed at ImagineNATIVE and she is planning to further develop it. She has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 she won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Thirza Cuthand Is an Indian Within the Meaning of the Indian Act
Thirza Cuthand | 2017 | CA | 8.5 | video

Contemplating mixed race identity in Canada, Cuthand presents us with images of blood ties and land ties for Indigenous people, and questions the use of the words "White Passing" and her preference for "Light Skinned." A light skinned Indigenous woman, Cuthand reiterates that racism and discrimination still happen for her, just in different ways. Community belonging is contrasted with the different experiences she has from her darker skinned family. Ultimately a video with more questions than answers, Thirza Cuthand Is an Indian Within The Meaning of the Indian Act situates the artists body in historical trauma and ongoing colonial survival.

Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory, Thirza Cuthand
1995 | CA | 3 | video

In 1995 when Thirza Cuthand was 16 she felt like the only lesbian at her Saskatoon high school. This turned out to be untrue, but the lack of visibility in her high school coupled with the lack of representation of Queer teenagers in the 90's made her make her first video, a comedic short about teenage lesbian loneliness and trying to bribe classmates to come out with the promise of candy.

Untouchable, Thirza Cuthand
1998 | CA | 4 | video

A girl with a bad habit of falling for older women befriends a boy lover. This video is an examination of relationships between adults and teenagers. It involves ice cream trucks and bowie knives.

You Are a Lesbian Vampire, Thirza Cuthand
2008 | CA | 3.5 | video

In the dark night of a prairie city, a vampire considers her future with a fetching mortal. But requiring blood for sustenance brings a host of problems to the relationship. Starring Shavonne Somvong and Carrie Gates.

Helpless Maiden Makes an "I" Statement, Thirza Cuthand
2000 | CA | 6 | video

A helpless maiden is tiring of her consensual s/m relationship with her lover, and "evil" queen. She wants to break up. An impassioned monologue in a dungeon with our heroine in wrist cuffs quickly becomes an emotionally messy ending in flames.

Just Dandy, Thirza Cuthand
2013 | CA | 7.5 | video

Invited to speak at an Indigenous Revolutionary Meeting, the narrator describes an intimate encounter with an Evil Colonizing Queen which leads to Turtle Island's contraction of an invasive European flora.

Reclamation, Thirza Cuthand
2018 | CA | 13 | video

After white people leave Earth en masse for Mars, the Indigenous people left behind contemplate their place in healing the world and what happens next.

Less Lethal Fetishes, Thirza Cuthand
2019 | CA | 9.5 | video | World Premiere

Cuthand explores a confusing new gas mask fetish and confronts the feelings associated with being implicated in tear gas manufacturing and chemical companies through her art practice. Beautiful and complicated, this video explores the artists role in larger societal issues along with personal ramifications.


Extractions, Thirza Cuthand
2019 | CA | 20 | performance | Manitoban Premiere
** performance at the WFG Black Lodge, 3rd floor Artspace building

A personal film about Canada's extraction industry and its detrimental effects on the land and Indigenous peoples. This film parallels resource extraction with the booming child apprehension Industry currently operating in Canada which is responsible for putting more Indigenous children into foster care than were in Residential Schools. As the filmmaker reviews her life and how these Industries have affected her, she also reflects on having her own eggs retrieved and frozen to make an Indigenous baby.


* Program contains nudity and mature subject matter.


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