Most of us know (and if we didn’t, we do now) that 2017 marks Canada’s 150th year. And she doesn’t look a day over 135, folks! And while the city will offer you countless ways to commemorate this year with love; this event offers a slightly different narrative.
From January 26th to March 4th the University of Toronto’s Art Museum will host Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience. This exhibition is guest curated by the artist himself, Kent Monkman, a visual and performance Canadian artist of Swampy Cree and mixed Irish-English ancestry. Included in Shame and Prejudice are his paintings, drawings, and sculptures as they interact with historical artifacts borrowed for this exhibition and afford us a unique glimpse into First Nations lives present and past.
Painted with an honest, talented, playful, somber, and thought-provoking brush. Monkman’s exhibition starts in the present and takes us back 150 years before confederation; showing us the squalid living conditions on reserves, residential schools, New France, the Fur Trade and more.
In his art and his performances alike, you will notice Monkman’s hard-to-ignore flamboyant drag alter-ego: Chief Eagle Testickle, modeled after colonial myth, Hollywood cliche, and Cher’s costumes from her 1973 hit Half-Breed.
His interplay between the offensively-cheesy, historical, aboriginal identity, and fiction, suggests that history is often…creative, to say the least, especially as it pertains to First Nations identity.
If you’re curious to read more about this fascinating character (I mean both Kent and Chief Testickle), may I recommend this Canadian Art piece written on him/them, it is excellent!
And if I’ve piqued your curiosity about Kent and Miss Chief as well as about this exhibition, check it out while its still here. But especially on the 4th of February between 2pm-3:30pm, you’ll get a curatorial tour of the exhibition with Kent (meet at the University of Toronto Art Center, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7).
It won’t be here for long though, and when it does leave us in March, it will travel to every Canadian province and territory to remind us that shame and resilience are prominent features of the 21st century in Canada and know no boundaries.
Check out some other Art Out and About articles here:
- Art Out and About Toronto – Roam the ROM
- Art Out and About Toronto – Bleeders in the Watah
- Art Out and About Toronto – The Earl of Pan
- Art Out and About Toronto – City of Art II
- Art Out and About Toronto – BatSheva Dance Company