Kent Monkman's new painting is a 24ft confrontation with colonialism — and he walked us through it
'If the myths that Canada has about itself are flawed, then we have a problem with how we move forward'
Kent Monkman is already one of Canada's most celebrated Indigenous artists — but he won't be content to rest on his laurels anytime soon. His latest project may be his most ambitious yet: a massive 12 x 24-foot history painting titled "Two Ships" confronting Canada's colonial history.
Monkman unveiled the nearly-completed painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario last night as a part of the 6 Degrees Citizen Space 2017 event, which aims to "build alliances between Indigenous peoples and newcomers to Canada." And CBC Arts was live on the scene for a conversation between Monkman and Exhibitionists host Amanda Parris to dig into the meaning behind the colossal piece of art, which shows a collision between two ships representing Canada's Indigenous peoples and European settlers.
The story is not black and white, so it would be foolish to make a painting that is not open to interpretation and not rich in possibilities.- Kent Monkman
"This is really a very turbulent scene," he explains. "It's foundational, and if our foundation is flawed — if the myths that Canada has about itself are flawed — then we have a problem with how we move forward. So for me, this was very much about communicating an understanding about how we are supposed to coexist together."
Watch the full video below.
Learn more about Kent Monkman's Two Ships via 6 Degrees.