WAG to Host Monumental Kent Monkman Exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience
Visitors Will Experience 300 Years of Indigenous Canada
Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 19, 2019: From September 27 to February 22, 2020, the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) presents Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, a powerful exhibition featuring the work of Kent Monkman, an internationally-renowned artist who grew up in Winnipeg.
As both artist and curator, Monkman’s first major solo touring exhibition includes his own paintings, installations and sculptures, in dialogue with historical artifact loans from museums and private collections across Canada. The exhibition narrates a story of Canada through the lens of Indigenous resilience, travelling through 300 years of fur trade, confederation, oppressive policies, starvation, residential schools, incarceration, housing crises, disease and healing, and urban Indigenous experiences.
Through nine chronological chapters, Shame and Prejudice resonates with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work to bring about justice for the ongoing impacts of colonialism today.
The WAG will host a free public celebration and artist talk Thursday, September 26 at 6:30pm. Galleries will remain open until 10pm. Cash bar. RSVP at wag.ca/monkman
Plus, media are invited to a special announcement and interview opportunity with the artist on Friday, September 27 at 10:30am.
About the Exhibition:
• In response to national celebrations surrounding Canada’s 150th anniversary, Monkman created a project for the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The exhibition, composed of nearly 80 works and museum objects, launched there in 2017 and is now on a national tour.
• Monkman’s visceral and moving exhibition provides a searing critique of Canada’s colonial policies, challenging predominant narratives of Canadian history by uplifting Indigenous perspectives and experiences.
• Shame and Prejudice is narrated by Monkman’s genderfluid time-travelling supernatural alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle. Her story is told in a series of new works by Monkman displayed in conversation with museum artifacts.
• The exhibition takes visitors back to the period of New France and the fur trade; examines the colonial policies of the 19th century that dispossessed Indigenous people of their lands and forced Indigenous children into residential schools; and explores the modern fallout of colonialism in urban environments and on reserves.
• Central to the exhibition are works from the Urban Res series, which are inspired by Indigenous experiences in the North End and Glenelm, putting Winnipeg social issues in the foreground.
• The inclusion of fantastical elements illustrates Indigenous survival in the grit of prairie towns. Ultimately, the exhibition honours the resilience of Indigenous people in the face of colonialism.
About the Artist:
• Kent Monkman is a Canadian artist of Cree ancestry who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation.
• Now based in Toronto, Monkman is well-known for his provocative depictions of Indigenous resistance throughout Canadian history. He anchors his deeply social contemporary practice in an extensive knowledge of art history, and doesn’t shy away from truth telling.
• His work is represented in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Denver Art Museum, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum London, Glenbow Museum, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and Vancouver Art Gallery. Monkman has also recently accepted a commission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
“Through his rich practice and advocacy, Kent Monkman is fostering international awareness and dialogue about Indigenous experiences in Canada. As an artist with Winnipeg roots, he is shaping our country’s journey of relationship-building and celebration of Indigenous voices and stories. We are thrilled to present Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience here in Manitoba.”
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery
“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. My mission is to authorize Indigenous experience in the canon of art history that has heretofore erased us from view.”
— Kent Monkman
“With his encyclopedic exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, Kent Monkman confronts the all-too short and selective memory of settler history to tell, in the nine searing chapters, the indigenous side of the story. In the process, he has created nothing short of a new, and very different kind of museum of Canadian history.
— Barbara Fischer, Executive Director / Chief Curator, Art Museum at the University of Toronto
“Celebrated artist Kent Monkman, in a seismically large survey of his work and research, tells the important story of Canada through education and art. It is the first time in my tenure at the WAG that we have showcased an artist-as-curator approach on such a large scale.”
—Jaimie Isaac, Curator of Contemporary & Indigenous Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery
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. Lead Sponsor: Donald R. Sobey Foundation.
Winnipeg Art Gallery – Kent Monkman
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact
Amy Rebecca Harrison
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Opening in 2020, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca
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