Description

Kent Monkman camps up the history painting genre in works that revisit and rewrite historical events. Wielding wit and humour, he offers new twists on the subjugating relationship between First Nations peoples and European colonizers. Montcalm’s Haircut is a far cry from the received narrative, showing Miss Chief Eagle Testickle taking advantage of General Montcalm’s slumber. While the General, pictured as an Adonis and younger than his actual years in 1759, sleeps naked in his tent, Miss Chief, the artist’s alter ego, portrayed as an Aboriginal Delilah, cuts off his hair. Playing on the iconography of hair as a symbol of power and its removal as an act of humiliation and domination, Monkman recasts the narrative with a Native stripping a military man of his might. This is history told not from the perspective of colonial supremacy but from that of a Cree artist bringing subversive, sensual imagination to the anti-colonial discourse. M.-E. B.