The Scream adds dimension to the Denver Art Museum’s Kent Monkman collection.
DENVER ART MUSEUM
Among new works acquired by the Denver Art Museum is First Nations artist Kent Monkman’s The Scream. The painting was created for a touring exhibition produced by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto in partnership with the Confederation Centre Art Gallery titled Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, which “narrates a story of Canada through the lens of First Nations’ resilience.”
The monumental work represents a dramatic shift for Monkman. While his previous works have used humor to defuse the tension of presenting complicated and contentious subject matter, The Scream depicts a horrifying scene of First Nations children being forcibly removed from their homes and moved to residential schools, a historical practice from which consequences are still felt in Canadian society through language loss, culture change and the disrupted transmission of cultural knowledge.
The painting draws inspiration from two 17th-century works by Peter Paul Rubens titled Massacre of the Innocents, which portray the Biblical story from the Gospel of Matthew in stark, graphic terms.
The Denver Art Museum currently holds the largest collection of Monkman works in the United States, and the acquisition of The Scream adds rich dimensions to its holdings.
Kent Monkman (Cree), The
Scream, 2017, acrylic paint on canvas, 84 x 132". Native Arts acquisition fund, Purchased with funds from Loren G. Lipson, M.D.