LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts.
Name: Kent Monkman
Born: St. Marys, Ontario; raised in Winnipeg
Lives and works: Toronto
The work: Monkman is known for his arresting paintings, performances and installations, which turn stereotypical depictions of aboriginal culture on their head. His painting Charged Particles in Motion, above, depicts a dogsled team on a snowy landscape — except there's also a standard poodle and a fuchsia-robed, stiletto-wearing hero in the picture. In many of his works, Monkman dresses up as his alter-ego, the glamorous diva Miss Chief, "an agent provocateur, a trickster and supernatural being" which he told Strombo.com is meant to challenge our ideas about history and aboriginal people.
On his early artist days: "Probably around the age of four or five, I felt like an artist," he said. "I remember I was taken to the principal’s office in Grade 1 — not for being bad — but to show how I had nailed his likeness in a drawing.”
What he’s reading: The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (a recent red chair guest).
You can see Monkman’s work at the McCord Museum in Montreal starting January 29, and he’s working on a new series of large-scale paintings for the Sargent’s Daughters gallery in Manhattan. See his website for details of upcoming exhibitions.