Exhibit in Toronto challenges Canadians to look beyond the glossy lens of Canada’s 150th

Dennis Ward
APTN National New
A Cree artist is hoping his new exhibit in Toronto will challenge Canadians to rethink how they feel about Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.

Kent Monkman’s new work is dark – and the exact critical perspective of Canada.

“Whether it’s incarcerating Indigenous people, the beginning of the reserve system, residential schools and so forth that ran throughout various chapters of this exhibition,” said Monkman.

The exhibit is called “Shame and Prejudice, a Story of Resilience” is about intergenerational trauma and the effects of colonialism.

Monkman said he believes the work also depicts how colonial policies have institutionalized Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The Cree artists grew up in Winnipeg – and the city is depicted in the art.

“In the Urban Rez series, there’s quite a bit of tension between predator and prey,” he said. “The idea that Indigenous women are preyed upon. There’s a theme that runs through that body of work that reflects
upon Murdered and Missing Women and that ties back to that violence against the female nudes and so I’m using the cubics kinda violent nudes to depict that violence.”

The opening of the exhibit coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday.

Monkman said it’s important that Canadians acknowledge the experience of Indigenous peoples.

“That’s how we get reconciliation,” said Monkman. “Every Canadian should understand and learn something more about the Indigenous experience because our foundational myths are flawed unless they
incorporate these experiences into them. The national mythology.”

Canada’s Minister of Heritage Mélanie Joly said she’s happy to see Monkman presenting another point of view of Canada.

“That perspective has not been told that much over the past 150 years,” Joly told APTN. “And we all know that the relationship between Indigenous people and the government and Canadians over the past 150 years has far from been perfect.”

The exhibit is currently on display at the art museum at the University of Toronto.

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1 thought on “Exhibit in Toronto challenges Canadians to look beyond the glossy lens of Canada’s 150th

  1. Great work by Monkman. Most non indigenous Canadians are quite content to believe fairy tales instead of the truth about how Canada continues to undermine and brutalize First Nations people. Corporate Canada and their lackeys in government still have a lot of toxic resources to mine and transport on and through First Nations territory.

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