Shelley Niro: women, land, river

Opening Reception
Saturday, January 19, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Talk: Shelley Niro and Lori Beavis in conversation

Film Screening: Kissed by Lightning, Shelley Niro
Thursday, February 21, 7 – 9 pm


Guest Curator Lori Beavis

Over the past three decades Shelley Niro has gained a reputation, nationally and internationally, for countering the colonial definition of Indigenous people by representing and re-examining contemporary experience from a Mohawk woman’s perspective. Shelley Niro: women, land, river speaks to issues of education, colonial experience, self representation and resiliency.

This exhibition brings together works which span the entirety of Niro’s practice and make connections between the on-going subjects and themes in Niro’s oeuvre – the women, the land and the river that she knows and loves well. The women are artist friends, her sisters, daughters, mother, granddaughter and members of her community. The land is the Niagara region, upper New York State and her home territory in southwestern Ontario, and the river is the Grand River which runs through the Six Nations’ territory.

Niro’s representation of the land and the river is directly related to her feminine point of view; land and river link to her family history, to her parents, her ancestors and her culture.  Niro’s representations of the landscape are imbued with her awareness of the constructed or colonized spaces that Indigenous people experience. The land and waterways she depicts have physically changed as they have changed hands over time. Niro recognizes these changes through her relationship with the landscape; the land is a sacred space and one that cannot be sold or divided up.

Shelley Niro is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Kanien’kehaka Nation. She was born in Niagara Falls, New York and grew up on Six Nations Territory in south-western Ontario. She has established her place in Canadian art as a multi-media artist with a strong practice in traditional and contemporary media, moving between painting, sculpture, beadwork, installation, photography and film with ease. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2017), the Scotiabank Photography Award (2017), and the Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award (2012) and exhibitions in prominent institutions across the globe including the Venice Bienniale (2003), and the Sundance Film Festival (2004).


Artist Talk: Shelley Niro and Lori Beavis in conversation

Recorded Sunday February 17, 2019

Regular Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is by Donation.

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