Kent Monkman Painting Donated to WAG for the Community
Announced same day as the opening of Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice exhibit
Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 27, 2019: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is excited to announce the donation of a major painting by Kent Monkman to the WAG collection. Entitled The Deposition, the artwork is featured in Monkman’s solo show, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, which opens today and runs until February 22, 2020.
Generously given by an anonymous donor, The Deposition is part of the Urban Res series, in which themes relating to historic and contemporary Indigenous experience such as colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience are transposed against contemporary urban backdrops. The Urban Res streets are populated with tattooed Renaissance angels, gang members protecting their neighbourhoods, ancestors visiting from the spirit world, observing and waiting - medicine men in beaded sports jerseys and a spirit buffalo herd.
In The Deposition, Monkman references the Modernists’ flattening of pictorial space to comment on the historical and contemporary compression of Indigenous cultures. In particular, he uses the Modernist figurations of Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Henry Moore to depict vulnerable Indigenous women as casualties of violence and disease.
The two-dimensional quality of Picasso’s distorted cubist figures and Bacon’s mutilations stand in contrast to the sensual figurative style that Monkman references from various Old Masters, underscoring the historical violence perpetrated on Indigenous womens’ bodies that continues to this day.
Inspired by Old Masters’ sensitive depictions of grief and lamentation, Monkman’s “casualties of modernity” are mourned or aided by young Indigenous people. A generation of disenfranchised youth extend their condolences and empathy toward the less fortunate.
About the Exhibition:
• Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience is a powerful exhibition featuring the work of Kent Monkman on view at the WAG until February 22, 2020.
• In response to national celebrations surrounding Canada’s 150th anniversary, Monkman created Shame and Prejudice, a project for the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The exhibition, composed of nearly 80 works and museum objects, launched in 2017 and is now on a national tour.
• Shame and Prejudice is narrated by Monkman’s gender-fluid 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.
• 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.
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, the internationally renowned artist grew up in Winnipeg, taking art classes at WAG Studio.
• Monkman’s work Death of the Female (2014) was part of the 2017/18 WAG exhibition INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE, and he had pieces featured in the 2012 show Winnipeg Now.
• Monkman’s first solo exhibition at the WAG was The Triumph of Mischief in 2008.
• As an artist, he has had solo exhibitions at numerous Canadian museums including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, and Art Gallery of Hamilton.
• He has participated in various international group exhibitions and his work is represented in numerous public and private collections across Canada and internationally, including the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Monkman has also recently accepted a commission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
• His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including the 2007 and 2008 Berlinale, and the 2007 and 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
• Monkman is a recipient of the Indspire Award (2014), the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award (2014), the Bonham Centre Award (2017), an honorary doctorate degree from OCAD University (2017), and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2017).
“We are honoured and grateful to receive The Deposition, a meaningful work by Kent Monkman that references missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. This donation to the community enriches the WAG collection of Indigenous and Canadian art. It is not only a painting, it is a call to action on which we endeavor to deliver through the Gallery’s journey of Indigenization in the heart of Winnipeg.”
—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
“Celebrated artist Kent Monkman, in a seismically large survey of his work and research, tells the important story of Canada through education and art. The gift of The Deposition means that Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience’s legacy will be felt at the WAG and in Manitoba for years to come. ”
—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.
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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