Kent Monkman gives me performance anxiety.
My politics and my day job both lead me to do some solidarity work with aboriginal people, and have given me opportunities to learn about local Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) culture, but nothing about the Cree culture that figures into Monkman’s work. And sure, my love of creative expression has left me with an pile of sketchbooks and a vague knowledge of Western art history. Truthfully, though, none of these things qualify me to write an insightful review of Miss America, Monkman’s current show at Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain. It didn’t take me long, though, to realize I shouldn’t be so worried.