maison

March 14 - April 27, 2019

Kent Monkman
La Maison de Fous

Opening Thursday March 14th from 6pm to 8pm
Open Wednesday to Saturday from 11:30am to 5:30pm

963 rue Rachel Est
Montréal QC H2J 2J4

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ABOUT THE SHOW   /  WORKS PRESENTED   /  LINKS   / 


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ABOUT THE SHOW


"My latest series The Madhouse reflects on the legacy of colonial institutionalization of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Drawing inspiration from Michel Foucault, Francis Bacon, and Francisco de Goya, the Madhouse series depicts literal and allegorical struggles between guards and inmates in claustrophobic spaces of internment, exposing the psychological impact of incarceration on Indigenous people.

Since the political formation of Canada, Indigenous peoples have been subject to colonial policies of incarceration and institutionalization. In 1876, the Indian Act confined Indigenous people to colonial borders and categories, restricted how they were legally allowed to relate to their land and traditions, controlled their movement, and to this day still defines who is and who is not an “Indian.” In its attempts to assimilate us into the colonial project, the Canadian government has been removing Indigenous children from their families, communities, and cultures since 1883. Whether it was seven generations of residential school, or the staggering number of children in the child welfare system, these abusive policies led to widespread trauma and other mental health issues among survivors, which in turn gave rise to a pattern of over-incarceration of Indigenous adults in hospitals and prisons. Today, Indigenous people represent about five percent of Canada’s population, but over half the children in foster care are Indigenous. Almost half of incarcerated youth are Indigenous, and Indigenous adults comprise twenty seven percent of the federal prison population. In some prisons, like those in Kenora, the Indigenous population represents ninety percent of the inmate population. The Indigenous people I portray in the Madhouse paintings bear the effects of intergenerational trauma, and I wanted to show the raw expression of that pain as well as honour their strength.

I located the Madhouse series in spaces that evoke colonial institutions. In scenes recalling Michel Foucault’s panopticon, Indigenous people are isolated in cold, oppressive prisons, denied their individuality by a society that categorizes and confines them according to its needs. Echoes of Francis Bacon’s abstracted architecture and spaces of confused violence are visible in the dark institutional walls and interactions between the fenced-in figures. The brutal encounters that take place within the paintings also evoke the turmoil of Francisco de Goya’s madhouse works, from which this series takes its name. The figures are locked in both physical and metaphysical struggles, with some works depicting celestial beings that perhaps only the inmates can see.

By exposing the violence and trauma of colonial institutionalization that continues in Canada and so many other countries to this day, I wish to pay homage to the enduring resistance of Indigenous peoples."

-KM


WORKS PRESENTED


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Female Figures in a Prison
2019
Acrylic on Canvas
152.5 x 96.5 cm (60" x 38”)
  Male Figures Resisting Incarceration
2019
Acrylic on Canvas
152.5 x 96.5 cm (60" x 38”)
  Three Women in a Courtyard
2018
Acrylic on Canvas
152.5 x 96.5 cm (60" x 38”)


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Study for Fallen Warrior: Annie
2018
Acrylic on panel
40.5 x 51 cm (16" x 20”)
2018
  Study for Two Figures Restraining a Third
2018
Acrylic on panel
40.5 x 51 cm (16" x 20”)
  Study for Three Figures in a Room
2018
Acrylic on panel
51 x 40.5 cm (20" x 16”)



LINKS

- Ismaël Houdassine, " Incarcération des corps et des esprits chez Kent Monkman", Radio Canada, March 20th, 2019
- Éric Clément, “Kent Monkman: le drame des pensionnats autochtones”, La Presse, February 16, 2019.
- Dominic Tardif, “Kent Monkman au Musée McCord: corriger l’histoire canadienne, une toile à la fois”, Le Devoir, February 6, 2019.
- Nicolas Mavrikakis, "«Honte et préjugés: une histoire de résilience»: Ô Canada, taire nos aïeux”, Le Devoir, April 6, 2019.
- Kent Monkman's website
- Kent Monkman's page on the PFOAC website
- Click here to download the Kent Monkman's recent C.V.

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