Freda Guttman, native of Montreal, has worked as a printmaker, photographer and laterally, as an installation artist. In more than forty years of active research and practice, her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and internationally.
Guttman has over the years made her art practice and her political activism come together in a series of installations, in particular, one about the genocide of the Mayan people, Guatemala! The Road of War, and an installation concerning the global system of food production and distribution, The Global Menu, both of which travelled widely in Canada. In each venue she worked with solidarity, church and interested organizations to reach audiences other than art ones. She has produced two installations having to do with Palestine/Israel: Diminish Your Cup and Two Family Albums: Canada Park. From 1994 to 2004, she worked on a continuum of five installations about the 20th century called, Notes From the 20th. The writings and the life of Walter Benjamin have served as a template for these works, in particular his theories of the phantasmagoric myths we hold of history as progress, from which we must awaken in order to free ourselves from endless cycles of violence and despair. In the last years Guttman has returned to a first love, printmaking, as well as the production of posters, "A People's History of Montreal", posters for Palestine and other important struggles.
As well as being an artist, Guttman is also a social activist. She is involved in various collectives in Montreal that work for justice and peace at the local level and globally. Over the last 30 years she has experimented with ways of situating her art practice into the realm of the political, reaching out to potential participatory partners in attempts to be both informative and inspiring. She believes that there is power in a visual image that can hit people with a clarity and intensity beyond words.