Kent Monkman, The Scream, 2016

Monkman’s work looks at Canadian history through a critical lens; in this scene we see children being dramatically ripped from their parents’ arms, reminding us of Canada’s terrible history of forcing native children into residential (aka assimilation) schools – a history that is all too often swept under the rug. His paintings are Baroque, with their dramatic story lines and chaotic action, yet they are painted in acrylic, which gives them a 21st century aesthetic. We love that he has resurrected the act of history painting, that is, telling narratives about historical events, but Monkman’s stories are our dirty secrets. Not all his work is so heavy though – there is a lot of humour throughout.

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