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The Noble Savage Was a Drag Queen: Hybridity and Transformation in Kent Monkman's Performance and ... - page 3 / 19





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colonization, effectively moving beyond the identity constructs that have been created

around him/her.4 Through his alter-ego Share, the ultimate hybrid who incorporates past

and present, male and female, Native and white, Monkman renegotiates the terms of

power in Western society and seizes the most powerful and transformative role available:

the role of storyteller.

Introducing Miss Chief Share Eagle Testickle's European Male Emporium

Share Eagle Testickle is a glamorous character who flounces around the 19th-century

past/present in an ankle-length feather headdress, Louis Vuitton quiver, and spiked heels.

Partly spoofing gay pop icon Cher, particularly during the period of her 1970's hit song

"Half-Breed," Monkman's persona plays with Native stereotypes, pop culture, and queer

culture. Appearing first in Monkman's 2004 landscape paintings, a nondescript early

incarnation of a prototype Share morphs into the artist himself as the series progresses.

[image] As Share's persona becomes more undeniably linked to that of the artist himself,

Monkman gives his alter-ego a physical incarnation in his first "colonial art space

intervention," Miss Chief Share Eagle Testickle's Traveling Gallery and European Male

Emporium. Staged in August 2004 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, famous

for housing many of the works of Canada's Group of Seven painters, Share's tableau

vivant focused on the Group of Seven landscape paintings and the Edward Curtis film, In

the Land of the Headhunters. The Group of Seven refers to Canada's renowned white

4 Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge: 1994, p 7. Although I have argued that, for Indigenous people, we are not living in a postcolonial world, Bhabha's theory of postcolonialism is effective for an analysis of the methods of utlizing the concept of hybridity as a source of agency. Bhabha theorizes that agency exists in the moment of enunciation, in the spaces between language, which I would argue is the space in which Monkman's performance, which creates a new language, exists.


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