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Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: Kent Monkman’s Subversive Spin On Native Stereotypes
January 25, 2014
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Charged Particles in Motion (2007)
1/11 OPEN GALLERY

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.

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