Yesterday I had went to an artist talk by Kent Monkman at the Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario.
This artist talk was not like any others I have been to in the last 6 years. It was not only captivating but very expressive and words to elaborate the meaning behind Kent’s work. The sources he would draw from, of mythology, religious figures, historical recounts, and early 19th Century art & its artists. The way in which First Nations people were stereotyped and portrayed within this romanticized notion. Taking the stories that are documented as “history” and giving each moment a second glance and producing responsive works. These works being on display to challenge the thematic notion of First Nations peoples and art. Bringing forth these topics and themes of historical discussions into the transition of modernity, and idealism. Kent Monkman’s work would invoke a reaction from the viewer, by the mixed stylized composition of each piece of work and by the narrative that followed along with it. Touching on themes of identity, the alter ego, colonization, effects of religion, modernity, imprisonment, violence against women, and violence against women’s spirit.
So much was translated through his work, but it was also so refreshing to hear the words from Kent. As a young aspiring artist I think I walked away with stars in my eyes. For Kent’s work challenged the notion of being held under a category or label. Also to challenge what we were born to think by our morally fluctuating society rather than to critically think and open our minds for ourself. To see the bigger picture and dynamics of how we are seen as as Indigenous peoples.
He inspires and encourages through his work and words. I am truly glad I was fortunate enough to make it to the talk.