Video

This artist is taking apart your reverence for Canadian historical figures, one painting at a time

Tashina Makokis has found a new way to talk about Canada's injustices towards Indigenous peoples and knock these figures off their pedestals.

Tashina Makokis has found a new way to talk about Canada's injustices towards Indigenous peoples

Artist Tashina Makokis explains why she decided to take some of these characters from Canadian history down from their pedestals 3:36

Artist Tashina Makokis is a Nehiyaw painter whose works take on the colonial history of Canada in a very assertive way. In this video, we'll see how as she breaks down two of her painting series that are hung across from one another at her solo exhibition in Edmonton.

One series focuses on Canadian historical leaders like Nellie McClung and Sir John A. Macdonald — figures the artist chose for each of their roles in a history of injustice toward Indigenous peoples. In Makokis's versions of their portraits, their faces are distorted and painted in garish colours to challenge why these are the figures that represent Canada.

(CBC Arts)

The other series places Makokis's own nude portraits across from those of the leaders, in a move to reclaim her own body and the history of the country.

Ugly Portraits and Sacred Landscapes. By Tashina Makokis. Until October 16 at Femlab, University of Alberta, Edmonton. ualbertafemlab.wordpress.com

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30 a.m. (1 NT) and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. (4NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Coty Savard

Coty Savard is an emerging Cree, Métis filmmaker/producer. Her films and projects often concentrate on the varied, complex and sometimes uncomfortable reality of Indigenous experiences in Canada.