Caroline Monnet at Expo World Press Photo to show indigenous women differently

Caroline Monnet at Expo World Press Photo to show indigenous women differently

Born of an Anishinaabe mother and a French father, Caroline Monnet is a multidisciplinary artist who expresses herself through sculpture, painting, photography and film. We owe him in particular the film Bootleggerwhich garnered several nominations at the last Gala Québec Cinéma.

When Expo World Press Photo in Montreal asked him to be its spokesperson this year, it was the winning photo of the World Press Photo prize last April who pushed her to say yes.

Taken by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken, this shot shows red robes hanging from crosses at the site of a former Indian residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

It’s an extremely strong photo that appealed to me a lot, explains Caroline Monnet. This is a subject that touches me deeply.

The artist also sees the World Press Photo Expo in Montreal as a great showcase for his work and an opportunity to reach members of the general public for whom contemporary art remains a little-known milieu.

Convey positive representations of Aboriginal women

Caroline Monnet will introduce them to her new exhibition Ikwewak (Women)which aims to offer another representation of the Aboriginal woman than the fictionalized one that comes from colonization.

The indigenous woman has always been presented in a very anthropological way, by a male and white gaze, showing her passively in front of the camera doing artisanal tasks, or as a victim in the mediashe laments.

It’s not at all what I want to show, because it’s not the strong, proud, eccentric or elegant women I know around me.

Chief and costume designer Swaneige Bertrand is from the Acho Dene Koe First Nation.

Photo: Caroline Monnet

The artist explains that she wanted to photograph the indigenous women who agreed to pose for her in a modern and committed with subjects who look at the camera without lowering their eyes in order to take their rightful place.

It’s a way to contribute to changing the image of Aboriginal women in the collective imagination, to highlight the power of these women and to show them that they have the right to exist and that they are important.

My desire is also to put the Aboriginal woman back on the pedestal she was on before colonization and to restore her royal status. »

A quote from Caroline Monnet, multidisciplinary artist

The public will thus be able to discover portraits of Aboriginal women such as filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin or Swaneige Bertrand, who is both a costume designer and a chef specializing in Aboriginal cuisine. They are all strong voices in their community, women involved in arts and cultureshe says.

Caroline Monnet wanted all these women to be French-speaking, because according to her, there is still a big gap between French-speaking and English-speaking Aboriginal people; Francophone Aboriginal women are very underrepresented.

His work Stand up! at UNESCO

Last month, Caroline Monnet traveled to Paris to attend the permanent installation of her work Stand up! at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), whose headquarters are in the French capital.

Stand up! is a giant mural featuring six Aboriginal women standing and looking straight ahead.

It’s amazing to have a work that integrates the UNESCO collection; it’s extremely prestigious, she rejoices. Seeing the struggle of Indigenous women go beyond our borders and be recognized with dignity was a very symbolic and powerful moment.

The exhibition Ikwewak (Women) will be presented at Marché Bonsecours, in Montreal, from August 31 to October 22.

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