Ruth Cuthand Trading-Inspired Activity

Ruth Cuthand, Cholera, 2009, plastic beads, acrylic paint, 60.2 x 44.8 cm. The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program, 2010.

Ruth Cuthand’s Trading series features 12 microscopic viruses rendered in beadwork. Eleven of the viruses she depicts were introduced to the Americas by Europeans. These viruses proved deadly to the Indigenous population, who had no immunity to them. 

Three works from this series were on view at Remai Modern in 2019 as part of the exhibition Ruth Cuthand: Artist In Focus. You can hear Cuthand speak about the exhibition by watching the video below the activity. This spring, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuthand created beaded facemasks with the coronavirus pathogen.

Cuthand’s work is a powerful example of how art can help us understand challenging topics. Remai Modern is proud to showcase work by artists who tackle issues head on and ask viewers to consider the world around them in new ways. This artmaking activity gives everyone the chance to think critically and creatively about the idea Cuthand presents and the issues facing humanity today.

Ruth Cuthand is one of Saskatchewan’s leading artists. She received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2020.


  • Pencil Crayons
  • Collage Papers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Or anything of your choosing!

Instructions: Explore images of viruses online. Then, follow the video for ideas on how to reproduce or invent one in a medium of your choosing.

Learn more about Ruth Cuthand:


Wednesday 10 AM - 5 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 5 PM
Friday 10 AM - 9 PM
Saturday & Sunday 10 AM-5 PM

Questions? email

102 Spadina Crescent East
Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3