Tag: Gender-fluid

mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People): Resurgence of the People

mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People): Resurgence of the People

Artist: Kent Monkman (b. 1965)
Media: Acrylic paint on canvas
Date & Location: 2019, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Significance to Queer Art History

Kent Monkman is a Cree artist who works across the media of painting, photography, performance, installation and film. He is known for his critical interventions into ‘canonical’ European and American art history that highlight colonial violence (both historical and ongoing), queer sexualities, and resilience. This painting, mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People): Resurgence of the People, shows a reinterpretation of Washington Crossing the Delaware from 1851 by Emanuel Leutze, which is also housed in the Met. Instead of George Washington, though, it is Miss Eagle Testickle at the helm.

Monkman often includes his gender-fluid, Two-Spirit persona Miss Chief Eagle Testickle in his work. In this painting we see them adorned with rainbow earrings, flowing sheer and glossy red fabric, and Lou Boutons.

“I created Miss Chief Eagle Testickle to offer an Indigenous perspective on the European settlers and to also present a very empowered point of view of Indigenous sexuality pre-contact. We had our own traditions of gender and sexuality that didn’t fit the male/female binary. Miss Chief is a legendary being, she comes from the stars.”

Kent Monkman
Miss Chief Eagle Testickle

Resource(s):

Dr. June Scudeler (Métis) who is assistant professor in Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University and Issaku Inami who is an MOA Volunteer, Associate Gallery Host, and queer activist discuss Monkman’s work in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCeWhcyfYxg.

Kent Monkman’s website: https://www.kentmonkman.com/.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” Accessed 2021-11-03. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/11417.

Tim Barringer, “The Big Review: Kent Monkman at the Met,” in The Art Newspaper, 2020. Accessed 2021-11-03.
https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2020/02/06/the-big-review-kent-monkman-at-the-met