Feb. 11, 2020Print | PDF
Artist: Shelley Niro
Exhibition dates: Feb. 24 – April 3, 2020
Artist public lecture:
This exhibition showcases the movement of time through images of rocks, tryptychs and a video creating time immemorial. There is history as in history books and then there is evidence of looking at the surface of the earth and taking what is there for granted.
We are part of the earth and will remain so.
There are three different works in this exhibition. The large photographs with fossils is called Resting Place of Our Ancestors. I’ve spent many hours looking at different species embedded into rock faces. I’m not a paleontologist but I am curious about life that existed before and during the era of the big bang. I’ve become attached to the narrative of these small creatures as they went about their daily tranquil lives and suddenly they are now the centrefolds for explaining my own existence as I slither along the edges of this century. These imprints of long gone life unite us all as evidence of where we come from.
In History of the World my centre pieces appears once again. The title refers to the influence capital gain has had on the environment and Native People. The fossils refers to the earth and the longevity of its existence. How long has the earth been here? Millions, billions, trillions of years? No one knows for sure. We can only guess. The Indian Head Nickel was a small memorial to the vanishing race of the Native Americans and the Buffalo in the USA. Funny how the nickel became the platform for establishing this sad reminder of what was here, once upon a time. Life goes on. The four colours these pieces are laid upon are the four directions of Native People. They represent the directions, different tribes, the nations we come from.
Peacemaker's Test is the sacred place on the edge of a city called the Cohoes. This is where the Peacemaker was challenged to prove he was the prophet the territories had been waiting for. After centuries of violence amongst the tribes, he appears, promising peace. He survives after being thrown into the waterfalls where the Mohawk River meets the Hudson. This is the beginning of the Iroquois/Haudenausaunee Confederacy, the strongest union of Native People before European invasion.
Shelley Niro was born in Niagara Falls, NY. Currently she lives in Brantford Ontario. Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan.
Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist. Her work involves photography, painting, bead-work and film.
Niro is conscious the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people. Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Photo series such as Mohawks in Beehives, This Land is Mime Land and M: Stories of Women are a few of the genre of artwork. Films include: Honey Moccasin, It Starts with a Whisper, The Shirt, Kissed by Lightning and Robert's Paintings. Recently she finished her film The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw.
Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario.
Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017 Niro received the Governor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received the Hnatyshyn Foundation Reveal Award.
Niro continues to produce work reflecting herself and her community.
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