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Kent Monkman painting donated to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the Community
Kent Monkman, The Deposition, 2014. Acrylic on canvas board. Collections of the WAG. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2019-159.

WINNIPEG.- The Winnipeg Art Gallery announced 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 9, 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.

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 9, 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.

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).

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