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Cree artist Kent Monkman is one of many LGBTQ voices providing commentary on Canada's history of colonization in a new book that features both his art and provocative prose. Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star/Getty Images Kent Monkman,of native irish background who puts a gay stamp on most of his work and has a new show on at museum of contemporary canadian art.the show is called the triumph of mischief.shots of him with his work. Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star/ Getty Images

> The Listicles

Books for Allies

Hear the critical narratives emerging from the voices that were left out of the history books with these illuminating reads / BY Nathalie Atkinson / February 1st, 2021

Don’t miss these stealth titles that further highlight, decolonize and excavate BIPOC and LGBTQ history for readers who want to learn how to check their white privilege.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

1Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship in CanadaCraig Jennex and Nisha Eswaran

Canada’s ArQuives, the largest independent LGBTQ2+ archive in the world, has such a breadth and wealth of visual material that it explains why this book was three years in the making. It covers everything from the Van Dykes, a group who went road-tripping through Canada and the U.S. the 1970s in search of a lesbian utopia, to how the bathhouse raids in Toronto’s gay village were linked to bigger issues of police violence like the murder of Black citizens.

2Nova GraphicaLaura Kenins

An anthology of graphic-novel short stories containing the Nova Scotia history you weren’t taught in school, from Indigenous folklore and LGBTQ contributions to its vibrant Black and immigrant communities.




3Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of MusicAdam Gussow

Before tuning in to the big holiday Netflix movie Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Viola Davis as the so-called “Mother of the Blues,” read this scholar and musician’s thought-provoking book about the Black southern roots of the blues, the history of “race records” and the genre’s adoption into the mainstream of music.




4Shame & Prejudice: The Story of ResilienceKent Monkman

The definitive chronicle of the Cree artist’s all-encompassing project to challenge the prevailing narrative of Canadian history, this book features both Monkman’s art and his clever and provocative commentaries on the settlers of New France, the fur trade, Canadian colonial policies and the residential school system.

5Both/And , et al. and Lorraine O’Grady

Two major books about the incendiary Black feminist conceptual artist are must haves. The first covers works such as her uninvited public performances at society events as “Mlle Bourgeois Noire” – who once showed up in an elaborate dress made of 180 pairs of white gloves – and her pivotal work of race, class, and gender critique that demanded attention for Black women artists. Writing in Space collects O’Grady’s art and music criticism in the Village Voice and Artforum before becoming a multidisciplinary artist of diasporic subjects.



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