In contemporary popular culture, hockey has become a powerful symbol through which to challenge patterns of cultural and gender inclusivity and exclusivity. In the exhibition Deicing/Decolonizing: Hockey Histories in Canadian Contemporary Art, organized by the Art Gallery of Windsor and curated by Jaclyn Meloche, hockey offers a platform on which to challenge Western stereotypes. Organized into four distinct sections–hockey jerseys, hockey masks, hockey cards, and hockey equipment–the metaphorical and mythological connotations that have historically perpetuated the talent and celebrity of the white male professional athlete will be the subject of critical debate. Inspired by Benedict Anderson’s 1983 claim that nations are social constructions that perpetuate "imagined communities," hockey, through the lens of Deicing/Decolonizing is thus translated into a discourse that too has established the imaginary, more specifically an imagined national identity.
In each section, works by Kent Monkman, Judy Anderson, Hazel Meyer, François Morelli, Didier Morelli, Marc-Antoine Phaneuf, Laura Millard, Adrienne Crossman, and Barrie Jones, amongst others, propose new narratives through which to interpret hockey vis-à-vis the politics of colonialism, gender, masculinity, violence, and the media. Drawing from Western histories that continue to frame the sport, spirituality in First Nations communities and culture, and the notion that hockey represents an imperialist conquest, sculptures by Monkman and Anderson, for instance, will offer new perspectives on the game; its history of exclusivity, and its misconceived contributions to Canadian identity. Through a feminist lens, the inherent patriarchy that continues to frame hockey will be destabilized through material investigations of hockey equipment, representations of the game and portraits of hockey icons created by women artists who also play hockey, such as Liz Pead and Liss Platt.