October 3, 2022

Kent Monkman: Being Legendary at the Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum – Level 3, Third Floor Centre Block
October 8, 2022 to March 19, 2023
Curated by Kent Monkman

Acclaimed Cree artist Kent Monkman’s  major solo exhibition Being Legendary will open to the public on October 8, 2022, running to March 19, 2023, at ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) in Toronto, Canada. Years in the making, Monkman created this new body of work in direct response to artifacts and natural history specimens in ROM’s permanent collection. Through his paintings and other artworks, Monkman reframes history through his Cree perspective to interrogate the role of museums and ask crucial questions about how collections are presented in the 21st century.

Being Legendary introduces 35 paintings, the majority of which were created for this exhibition, as well as new sculptures and etchings by the artist. Monkman collaborated with ROM to place these artworks in conversation with carefully chosen pieces from the Museum’s collections, ranging from dinosaur fossils to intricately beaded moccasins. Using his alter ego—the gender-fluid, shape-shifting legendary being, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle—Monkman employs his unique painting vocabulary in collaboration with text written in Miss Chief’s voice by long-time writing partner Gisèle Gordon, to present a unique narrative that challenges the dominant Western perspective of history.

My goal with this exhibition is to convey the incredible depth and richness of Indigenous existence on Turtle Island. Indigenous peoples have been present here much longer than previous estimates of Western science suggest, and the ongoing devastation of the colonial period is a relatively short blip on the vast timeline of a very rich existence. I want to emphasize the power of Indigenous peoples in keeping many of our cultures, histories, and knowledge systems intact and pay tribute to all those involved in reviving our languages and cultural practices across Turtle Island. Through our stories and artworks, we are continually passing on and renewing knowledge,” says Kent Monkman.

Accompanying the Being Legendary exhibition will be a catalogue published by the Art Canada Institute in December containing full colour reproductions of the artworks and narrative text. The catalogue also provides deeper context and insight with interviews and essays written by prominent Indigenous writers and scholars such as Wilfred Buck, Keith Goulet, Paulette Steeves, and Luana Harper-Shirt, among others.

A program of public events with Kent Monkman will run throughout the exhibition, with additional information to be announced.

From: Internationally Renowned Cree Artist Kent Monkman to Present a New Body of Work at ROM this October,  September 21, 2022, Press Release issued by the Royal Ontario Museum

Image Credit:
I Come from pâkwan kîsik, the Hole in the Sky, 2022
Acrylic on canvas / 108″ x 81″
Image Courtesy of the Artist