Kent Monkman’s Mission to Decenter the Colonial Museum

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Leading contemporary artist Kent Monkman discusses how museums have influenced his life and his art, and what he is doing to help change them to tell a fuller picture of Canadian history.

Most of our earliest experiences of art are forged at museums. In this episode artist Kent Monkman recounts his own youth visiting institutions that didn’t reflect the lived reality around him and his Cree community in Winnipeg. 

Since those formative years, Monkman has become an important voice in contemporary art who challenges the histories told inside the hallowed halls of museums, pushing them to reflect the complexity of the world around them. He is an artist who teaches us to imagine the world we want to see, one that refuses to erase the stories of pain, but instead uses them to portray the power of resilience and future possibilities.

This is the first in a four-part series by Hyperallergic in conjunction with the Gardiner Museum and its Community Art Space, a platform for experimentation and socially-engaged art. The series explores the role of museums, ceramics, and the stories they tell.

A special thanks to Brooklyn-based musician SunSon for providing the music to this episode, and you can check out his website You can also follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

Kent Monkman’s Mission to Decenter the Colonial Museum
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