The MMFA is proud to present the first personal exhibition of Caroline Monnet in a Canadian museum. The multidisciplinary artist of Algonquin and French heritage explores, through her art, questions of identity, particularly in her maternal Indigenous roots. The works in Ninga Mìnèh, some of which are being shown for the first time, evoke both metaphorically and materially the harsh living conditions experienced by Indigenous peoples on reserves, which were long ago imposed on them by the Government of Canada. In most cases, reserve housing was hastily built with cheap materials: from the outside, they often appear shoddy or uncompleted. Families are crammed together, without the barest of comforts. The exhibition Ninga Mìnèh (Algonquin for “promise”) is a call to authorities to finally offer First Nations people decent, dignified, pleasant living conditions.
To highlight this untenable precarity of their situation, Monnet uses singular, raw construction materials, including Tyvek®, tar paper and membrane insulation. These symbolize the isolation communities living on reserves have been and continue to be subjected to. Despite the grimness of the chosen materials, the artist succeeds in creating vastly poetic works of arresting beauty. There is a tension that emanates from them, reflecting the disparity between their polished surfaces and the stark reality of some Indigenous communities.
Credits and curatorial team
An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Guest curator: Sylvie Lacerte