Urban Nation

A collaborative art practice between Kent Monkman and Gisèle Gordon

  • contact

    • Box 343, Station B
    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • M5T 2W2



Dance to the Berdashe

  • Written, directed, and produced by Kent Monkman
  • 2008, 12 minutes, 5 channel video installation with surround sound
  • Original formats HD and super 8mm; Edition of 3, with one AP
  • 5 steel and fabric hides with projections (individual hide size 10'5" x 8')
  • Final installation dimensions variable


Dance to the Berdashe was inspired by a canvas of the same title by the American painter George Catlin (1796-1872) depicting a dance common among the Sauk and Fox nations, of warriors dancing around a Berdashe, visibly joyful and excited. In his memoirs, published in 1844, From Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North American Indians, Catlin speaks of this ritual unsympathetically: “One of the most unaccountable and disgusting customs that I have ever met in the Indian country...and where I should wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded.”

The Berdashe is re-interpreted by Miss Chief Eagle Testickle with joy and power.