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Perspectives | Issue 9

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

When Marcel Met Kent

June 6, 2018

French author Marcel Proust is famous for his gentle remembrance of things past, his eponymous character-revealing questionnaire and his love of madeleine cookies.

Kent Monkman is a modern-day national treasure. He is an artist and advocate who packages a harsh social message about the treachery behind Canada’s national myths and the violation of Indigenous rights in the lush neo-classical style of David and Delacroix. He and his alter ego, the fabulous Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, are of Cree and Irish ancestry. They have gained an international reputation for the power and beauty of both the medium and the message.

What is your greatest fear?
To be irrelevant.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Which living person  do you most admire?
Alanis Obomsawin, for blazing a trial for all Indigenous artists to follow, and for making over 50 films (and counting).

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

On what occasion do you lie?
To my smallest nieces and nephews about the missing and murdered Indigenous women and men. They are too young to know that their lives are considered by many in this country to be worthless.

Which living person do you most despise?
Donald Trump. He epitomizes the dangerous shift towards lack of empathy in our world today.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I love the warrior-like strength in all women.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My painting practice.

When and where were you happiest?
Any time I’m painting in my studio.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing.

What is your most treasured possession?
My imagination.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To be without friends and family.

What do you most value in your friends?

Who is your hero of fiction?
Weesageechak (the Cree trickster).

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Eugene Delacroix, because of his passion for painting, and his articulate challenges of the society he lived in through his art and his writing.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Murray Sinclair. His work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was ground-breaking, and with his wisdom continues to offer guidance to all Canadians that is wise, generous and essential in these turbulent times.

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