Our Canada 150 series continues with Subjugation of Truth by Kent Monkman. This painting shows Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (Chief Poundmaker) and Chief Mistahi-maskwa (Chief Big Bear) sitting dejectedly before a table at which white men are signing away the chiefs’ freedom. Sir John A. McDonald casts a dreamy look at a young Mountie, while a portrait on the wall shows Miss Chief (Monkman’s alter-ego) dressed as Queen Victoria.
Kent Monkman is a Two-Spirit artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. His work often explores the colonialism of this land through a mix of mythical and overt imagery, humour and parody.
We love Monkman’s work and encourage you to check out his website to explore more of it. But we also think it’s important to give a heads up that because his work examines the harsh history of Canada, European invasion and the ongoing effects of colonization it can be both powerful and difficult to look at. Some pieces also incorporate (painted) nudity and his alter-ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle.
Here are a few notable pieces from one of his most recent exhibitions