Artist Spotlight: Kent Monkman

Monkman uses painting, sculpture, video, and awesome drag to settle a few scores. His work is hilarious and chilling all at once.

BY Christopher Harrity

August 16 2014 4:00 AM ET

Kent Monkman channels his perceptions beautifully into grand landscapes that present allegories of a reimagined past. His past has a much happier, if somewhat saucy result. At first his paintings, sculpture, and performance pieces seem played for laughs, almost a tongue-in-cheek Native American minstrel show — with drag. Then you realize you are laughing at work that addresses the white genocide of Native American societies and the destruction of their culture. His point of view changes rapidly from enraged indigenous person to romantic storyteller to huh art drag queen — sometimes all in the same piece of work. 

Monkman is an artist of Cree ancestry who works in a variety of media, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. Monkman has exhibited widely in Canada and is well represented in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

See more of Kent Monkman's huge and amazing output on his website.

Four Directions
40" x 30" — 2012
acrylic on canvas
(detail below)

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