art, indigenous, loss, residential schools, horror, injustice, colonialism, abuse, neglect, marginalization

The Scream

Kent Monkman, born in 1965. is part of the Fisher River Cree Nation but now resides in the Dish with One Spoon Territory, also known as Toronto, Ontario. He is known for creating art that focuses on Indigenous people’s historical and current marginalization from society.

Monkman sheds light on important messages such as sexual identity, loss, and colonization throughout his multiple art pieces. Along with his usual artistic themes, he includes appearances from his gender-fluid alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle. Monkman explains she “reverses the colonial gaze to challenge received notions of history and Indigenous peoples”. 

art, indigenous, loss, residential schools, horror, injustice, colonialism, abuse, neglect, marginalizationThe Scream // 2017// Kent Monkman

Monkman’s painting “The Scream” (2018), depicts children being torn away from their families by the Catholic Church and the Royal Mounted Police to be put into the residential school system. The terror and despair is felt from the families’ expressions, the desperate reaching for their children, and the violence.

These children faced unimaginable suffering physically, sexually, and emotionally while in the school system. Between the 1800s to late 1900s, children were forced to conform to Catholic beliefs. Forced to never speak their mother tongue, and forget about their families. It is important to notice how the indigenous families wear clothing that is more modern than what would have been worn at that time. The clothing is a symbol for the “forcible removal of Indigenous children from their parents and relations continue”.

Image Credits:
Feature Image: Mali Desha, On Unsplash, Creative Commons
Body Image: Kent Monkman, shared with Artist’s Permission