By Barb Nahwegahbow
The University of Toronto Art Museum was packed with hundreds of people for the opening of Kent Monkman’s exhibition, “Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience” on the evening of Jan. 26. A security guard stood at the entrance to handle the crowds as hundreds more waited in line outside the gallery for their opportunity to view the much-talked about show created by Monkman to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience” narrates a story of Canada through the eyes of Monkman’s alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, from present-day to a 150 years before Confederation. It’s not the usual sanitized history of Canada, but a raw, compelling and honest one.
As Monkman explains, “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.”
This is Monkman’s first major solo-exhibition at the U of T Art Museum and includes his own paintings, drawings and sculptural works, as well as historical artefacts and artworks borrowed from museums and private collections from across the country.
The U of T Art Museum estimates that 1,000 people viewed the exhibition on opening night.
The exhibition is in Toronto until March 4, 2017 and following that will be on tour. The exhibition is produced by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto in partnership with the Confederation Art Gallery, Charlottetown.