Boarder X

Week 3 Blog Post

“The Scream” by Kent Monkman: the aftermath.

This past week, I had the privilege to visit an art exhibit at the Nanaimo Art Gallery called “Boarder X”. Boarder X is an exhibit originated in Winnipeg, Manitoba and now travels all across Candada featuring contemporary art such as painting, sculpting, video, and photography, by Indigenous artists who all share a love for surfing, skating, and snowboarding. The exhibit itself works to connect those who are passionate about skateboarding and art with the history of Indigenous culture and bring greater awareness to the Indigenous experience of colonialism in Canada. The artwork displayed at the exhibit worked to show the interconnectedness of the environment, politics, social perspectives, and a relationship with the land. From skateboard art to videos and photo galleries, the mix of contemporary styles offered a new perspective on Indigenous cultures relationship with boarding as a sport and allowed indigenous boarders and artists to create their own narrative surrounding the deep cultural/ historical roots that links them to the land and the outdoors with a modern day passion for sport and art. One of the most profound moments that I experienced while visiting the gallery was when I first viewed the piece by Cree artist Kent Monkman called “The Scream” (pictured below). When I saw the painting, I was standing with a group of younger boys, all who were there simply to checkout the “cool skateboards” and skate on the exhibit’s interactive mini half pipe. However, when the group of skater boys arrived at “The Scream”, they all stopped in their tracks and took it in for a moment. I watched as one of them looked at his other friends and said “woahh, this is nuts”.
Although this small phrase might not seem like much, this moment of recognition sparked a conversation, from this conversation sparked a notion of awareness. The image of the Royal Mounted Police, preists, and nuns tearing mothers apart from their children on what is depicted to be an Indigenous reserve painted across the decks of five skateboards spoke great truth into the reality of the suffering experienced by communities throughout history and to present day life. The art did the very job it set out to do and captured even the most unassuming of audiences, who originally attended the event with the purpose of skating, but were moved by the ways in which the painting was emulated its meaning.

“The Scream” by Kent Monkman: the original.

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