Thirza Cuthand

Saskatchewan CA
Lives in
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA

Videomaker. One of the most inventive and prolific of young video artists of the baby dyke generation. Born in Saskatchewan of Cree and Scots descent, Cuthand broke into the international queer festival circuit with the wry self-reflexive three-minute Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory (1995), even before completing her Fine Arts degree at Vancouver’s ECIAD. Recipient of many distinctions, her work is raw, intimate, ironic, sexy, and taboo-shattering, as in the SM-charged Helpless Maiden Makes an “I” Statement (1999) or Untouchable (1998), an autobiographical reflection on inter-generational eroticism. Her tapes were featured in First Nations contexts such as the exhibition “Exposed: Aesthetics of Aboriginal Erotic Art” (Regina, 1999). That same year’s Through the Looking Glass, an allegorical video pageant, is her most explicit confrontation with her native heritage and the identity and cultural conflicts entailed. With Anhedonia (2001–the title is a technical term for a symptom of depression, the inability to experience pleasure), she branched out into new territory, dealing with characteristic frankness with her own bipolar condition, assembling a tough visual and verbal iconography of corporal abjection and psychic despair. In the 2000s, Cuthand relocated to Montreal, the site of her 2000 solo retrospective, curated by GIV and La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse.