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Guide to Powwow Country: Kent Monkman's Big Four at Glenbow Museum, Calgary


Windspeaker Staff







Kent Monkman's Big Four
Glenbow Museum, Calgary
May 25 - August 18, 2013

Kent Monkman has long been recognized as an Aboriginal artist who is not afraid to take on social issues in his works, and a new exhibit at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum is no exception.  The numerical theme runs through Big Four, which was inspired by the 100th anniversary in 2012 of the world-renowned Calgary Stampede and its four financial backers who made it possible. The number is also symbolic to many Indigenous nations. Four vehicles also illustrate parallel situations in which North America’s Aboriginal people find themselves, with one, entitled the “Escape Car,” pointing out the high rate of incarceration and restrictions on mobility for First Nations since colonization, including the historical fact that the first to attend the original Calgary Stampede had to be given permission to leave their reserve. A variety of media, including painting, film and video and performances is presented. Monkman is a member of the Swampy Cree Fisher River Band in northern Manitoba and can also claims an English/Irish heritage. Raised and educated in Winnipeg, his exhibitions have appeared at the Banff Centre, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Royal Ontario Museum and Ottawa. His exhibitions and paintings have compared the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspective, Christianity, sexuality and history.  Other exhibits at the Glenbow this summer include M. C. Escher’s The Mathemagician which features cross grain wood-cuts of early works with the symmetry and logic of mathematics infringing on the pieces, making them interesting and imaginative at the same time. A tribute to local art from Calgary is also showing this summer. The exhibition galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday with restricted hours at the archives and library.