Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience was created as a response to Canada 150 celebrations. Monkman’s gender-fluid, time travelling alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, is our guide on a journey through Canada’s history that starts one-hundred and fifty years before Confederation and takes us to the present.

Miss Chief brings visitors to the period of New France and the fur trade, and ends her story in the harsh urban environment of Winnipeg’s north end, and contemporary life on the reserve. The exhibition addresses some of the darkest chapters of Canada’s past, narrating a story of Canada through the lens of First Nations resilience. As both artist and curator of the exhibition, Monkman places his own paintings, drawings, and sculptural works in dialogue with historical artifacts and artworks borrowed from museums and private collections from across the country.

Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience provides a searing critique of Canada’s colonial policies in light of the recent sesquicentennial. As Monkman explains, “The last 150 years—the period of Modernity—represents the most devastating period for First Peoples, including the signing of the numbered treaties, the reserve system, genocidal policies of the residential schools, mass incarceration, and urban squalor.”

Kent Monkman is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of media, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. His work is known for its provocative reinterpretations of Romantic North American landscapes, and it explores themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience: the complexities of historic and contemporary Indigenous experience.

This circulating exhibition is produced by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto in partnership with the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, and has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.

Image: Kent Monkman, The Bears of Confederation, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 190 x 345 cm. Collection of Michelle Bilodeau and Matt Kingston.

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