Programs / REVEAL - Indigenous Art Awards / Laureates

Thirza Cuthand

Thirza Cuthand

“If my actors are all pipe cleaner dolls, or if I am jumping around performing in a baby doll dress, or if I am delivering a lecture in front of a green screen with some footage of dandelions behind me, crucial messages can still be conveyed humorously and poignantly without the need for things like grants or patrons.”

My practice began as resistance to the lack of representation in the media of teenage lesbians, however as I continued making work I expanded this into an attempt to solve the lack of representations of complex marginal identities. This includes people who are mixed race, persons with mental illnesses, and butch Lesbian women. My work has often been highly personal, many of my earlier works have taken problems I have grappled with, like trying to understand my identities as a First Nations and European mixed race woman in a colonized country such as Canada, and dealt with them in a humorous way as in Through the Looking Glass. Other works, such as Madness In Four Actions, take a more serious look at a situation like abuse in psychiatric treatment.

I didn’t originally intend to be an experimental filmmaker. My work is largely dealing in a DIY aesthetic due to the very real experience of normally living in poverty. Experimental works are less costly for me to produce. If my actors are all pipe cleaner dolls, or if I am jumping around performing in a baby doll dress, or if I am delivering a lecture in front of a green screen with some footage of dandelions behind me, crucial messages can still be conveyed humorously and poignantly without the need for things like grants or patrons.

As a Two Spirit woman, I am consistently drawn to trying to represent the Two Spirit community. In the future, even if I move beyond experimental work to more dramatic, narrative based work, I think I will always feel compelled to create nuanced representations of the communities I belong with.

Thirza Cuthand is a film maker from Little Pine First Nation working in Toronto.

http://www.thirzacuthand.com/