Monkman, who through his work attempts to reclaim a worldview that has been
suppressed, from both sides, by centuries of colonial rule. By incorporating elements of
Native, European, colonial, and modern cultures and traditions, the artist references the
complexities of the present hegemonic colonial landscape, where the boundaries between
"us" and "them," "then" and "now," are blurred.
Sexuality as "Divine" Intervention
In the meticulously rendered landscape paintings that preceded his performance art debut
and gave birth to Share, Monkman steps back to the very point in time when colonial
mythmaking and sexual suppression is beginning to take shape. Share debuts, literally
with a bang, in the 2001 painting Heaven and Earth, in which she sodomizes a muscular
frontiersman under a halo of celestial light that announces the mythological proportions
of the event. [image] Monkman aligns the mythologizing of the American frontier with
the epic mythology of ancient Rome and Greece.27 The light signifies the arrival of a
new dawn, in which Native peoples reclaim their sexual identities and their authority over
their own history. It also alludes to a literal coming-out, both from the shadows of
historical marginality and from the shadows of Monkman's past work, which depicted
26 Minh-ha, Trinh T. When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender and Cultural Politics. London
and New York: Routledge: 1991, p. 145. Monkman is careful to acknowledge the hegemonic colonial relationship that has oppressed Native sexuality. His work speaks to both Native and non-Native audiences.
Monkman, Kent. Artist notes, The Trilogy of St. Thomas, 2004.