History Shall Speak for Itself

Presented in partnership with TIFF
TIFF Bell Lightbox - Toronto, ON

History Shall Speak for Itself, commissioned for the street-level windows of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, presents a collaged chronology of Indigenous female representation in filmmaking. The black-and-white archival images typify traditional, Western methods of documenting Indigenous women involved in their various domestic tasks, disengaged from the camera. The contemporary image, by contrast, features a group of women looking directly at the lens, outfitted in Indigenous attire influenced by European aesthetics, and posed against a stark white background as if in a fashion shoot. The models include documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, Quebecois actress Dominique Pétin, costume designer Swaneige Bertrand, film student Catherine Boivin, as well as the artist and her sister.

Monnet physically brings together these two very different methods of representation by interweaving strips of images in order to emphasize the idea of layering information while suggesting a kind of timeline. They recall analogue film strips that have been cut and collaged back together to make a movie. As a whole, Monnet’s mural highlights the emerging sense of power and self-determination that is bringing Indigenous women to the forefront of mainstream discussions in Canadian society. By presenting this image in such a prominent public space at larger-than-life scale, Monnet invites viewers to consider who these women are and why they demand to be seen and heard, echoing a right that has far too long been overlooked.

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein
Camera: Éric Cinq-Mars
Makeup: Amélie Ducharme
Costumes: Swaneige Bertrand

Installation view at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, 2018 

History Shall Speak for Itself, 2018
Edition of 3
Digital print on aluminum
36.9” x 120”

History Shall Speak for Itself II, 2018
Digital print on aluminum 

Renaissance, 2018
Digital print on paper
40” x 60”