Unveiled at the Met, Cree Artist Kent Monkman Asks Visitors to Confront North America’s Colonial Past

By Kate Taylor
Kent Monkman, (Canadian, b. 1965). Welcoming the Newcomers, 2019.
The Cree artist Kent Monkman stood under the soaring ceiling of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall this week wielding a laser pointer. With its beam, he indicated historical characters on the huge canvas behind him, stopping briefly on the figure of a beaver with an olive branch in its mouth as he decoded his latest painting for the assembled media. Europeans came to this continent seeking beaver pelts, he reminded them. Toronto-resident Monkman, a member of Manitoba’s Fisher River Band, is one of a trio of international artists given an unusual assignment by America’s pre-eminent museum: The Met has asked them to address its encyclopedic collection by creating new art for its most prominent spaces. [More]
As Cree artist Kent Monkman unveiled his paintings in a symbolically charged place, Met leaders talked about the need to expand the stories the museum tells.
The Newcomers, 2019, for The Great Hall Commission: Kent Monkman, mistikosiwak (Wooden Boat People), 2019.
Kent Monkman, (Canadian, b. 1965). Resurgence of the People, 2019.

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