Tuesday 14 May 2019


Via Colossal, we are introduced to the impressive portfolio of First Nations artist Ruth Cuthand through her 2009 series of beaded, quillwork mats that depict Old World diseases that trade brought to the indigenous populations of the Americas, with the media of inexpensive beads referencing their high value as a barter item and representing their transactional relationship, accepted in exchange for pelts and land. Trade itself, aside from its expected trade-offs of convenience over tradition and a less than fair prevailing-rate, became a disease vector for these viruses, decimating many tribes ahead of the colonisation by Europeans. More to explore and reflect on at the links above.