Cover artist Kent Monkman on what it means to be dandy


As artist Kent Monkman's critically acclaimed solo show Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience at the University of Toronto Art Gallery heads west to Calgary's Glenbow Museum to launch in June, with subsequent dates booked all the way into 2020, we wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone, including Kent, who has been involved in making dandyhorse the meaningful and beautiful magazine it is.

We've been fans of the interdisciplinary Cree visual artist's work for a while now. His work is a remarkable exploration of Canadian identity through a post-colonial lens that celebrates and challenges alternative histories and Indigenous identities.

We were very proud to feature [part of] his sculpture Bull in a China Shop on the front cover of our final print edition, issue 13, of dandyhorse 

In the editor's note Tammy explained her love for this piece:

When I first saw Bull in a China Shop (2013) - a hand painted earthenware saddle-with-handlebars that reimagines Picasso's famous Bull's Head (1942) - I thought: What a great thing of beauty. (I also thought: I must have that for our cover!)

Kent Monkman is a historic revisionary, viewing the past through the critical lens of a queer First Nations artist with a Two-spirited dandy alter ego called Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, or Mich Chief for short. Monkman uses Western concepts of sexuality to explore oppression inherent in dominant ideologies and hierarchies. He subverts the so-called Western gaze using mimicry. 

He's long been interested in the idea of, and etymology of, the "dandy" and what it meant to Aboriginal culture, and has incorporated his findings into his work. Monkman's research into the dandy found references to Two-spirited or "berdache" individuals who did not fit gender norms - usually womanly men or men who dressed in 'womanly' clothes - largely documented by painter and ethnographer George Catlin. In Catlin's documentation, and Monkan's retelling, the dance of the berdache was a ritual in which the Two-spirited leader of the tribe was worshipped and celebrated. Two-spirit has replaced berdache and gender fluidity has been recognised as long being a celebrated part of First Nations cultures. 

 At dandyhorse, we are proud to consistently and unapologetically celebrate the dandy in us all.

 

More:

Find the Issue 13 archive here.

 

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