Contemporary Artist Kent Monkman

Sheridan College

from Ovation, Sheridan’s Alumni Magazine:

“It’s easy to be drawn into Kent Monkman’s paintings. He seduces the viewer with beautiful, richly colourful works, often depicting romantic 19th century western landscapes. But a closer look reveals images of violence and oppression central to the artist’s revisionist version of North American aboriginal history.

Of Cree descent, Monkman has become one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary artists for his paintings, films, installations and performances. His work is part of collections in the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Smithsonian, among many others venues.

Along with the beauty and provocative imagery in Monkman’s art is a generous dollop of fun. Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, the artist’s two-spirited alter ego is a recurring character in his work and a campy conduit for Monkman’s social satire which he uses to draw people into his art.

“Humour disarms people. They are then open to receiving other messages that are more serious,” says Monkman, a 1986 Sheridan illustration graduate. “I didn’t want to create just a pretty picture hanging on a wall. I wanted to deal with themes that I felt were important – how First Nations people have been portrayed in terms of art history, the impact of colonialism and the church.”

His critically-praised exhibit The Rise and Fall of Civilization at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum in late 2015 took viewers on a vast, visual journey through indigenous history, focusing on the 19th century bison slaughter, with Miss Chief overseeing the spectacle.”

Read more about Kent here.