Three dozen men are gathered in a large room. Each one is portrayed in great detail. In front of them, a long-haired man wearing nothing but stiletto heels lounges on a Hudson’s Bay blanket draped over a box. He is looking at the others, with one arm raised.

Kent Monkman

(b. St. Marys, Ontario, 1965)


The Daddies


Acrylic on canvas

152.4 x 285.75 cm

Collection of Christine Armstrong and Irfhan Rawji

© Kent Monkman. Photo: courtesy of the artist

The Daddies is a remake of Robert Harris’s 1884 painting Meeting of the Delegates of British North America to Settle the Terms of Confederation. Kent Monkman has inserted his alter ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, into the picture, posing her nude before the future Fathers of Confederation. Miss Chief plays the role of a trickster here, subverting official portraiture conventions and Canadian political history by imposing an Indigenous queer presence on the origins of Confederation. Monkman made this painting as part of a series that raises questions about the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Toronto-based Cree artist Kent Monkman works in a variety of mediums ranging from painting to performance, installation and video. Monkman revisits the history of colonization with humour and provocation by turning the painting and historical conventions of canonical works upside down. One of his preferred strategies consists of appropriating history paintings and introducing transgressive narratives, often homoerotic, into the updated versions.

Private collection