Artist Erica Rutherford dies in Charlottetown

Erica Rutherford, artist, actor, filmmaker, farmer, teacher, writer, died Friday in Charlottetown.

Erica Rutherford — an artist, actor, filmmaker, farmer, teacher and writer — died Friday in Charlottetown.

Rutherford's remarkably multidisciplined career earned her membership of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited in hundreds of group and solo shows, and is in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Born male, in 1923, Rutherford struggled with gender identity and eventually underwent transsexual surgery. Her life and struggles were documented in her autobiography Nine Lives.

The book also details her first visit to P.E.I. and how she made the Island her permanent home in 1985.

Rutherford was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and lived in the United States, Spain, South Africa and England before eventually settling on P.E.I.

Rutherford made lasting contributions to the Island arts scene, including being instrumental in the formation of the Great George Street Gallery.

She also organized printmaking workshops that eventually led to the formation of the P.E.I. Printmakers Council. Her last show was at the Confederation Centre, entitled Enigmatic Whispers.

Rutherford's health had deteriorated in recent years. She leaves behind her life partner, Gail Ambica Rutherford, their daughter Susana, Susana's husband, and their two children.