Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Shelley Niro, Red Heels Hard, 1991. Hand-tinted photograph on paper. Courtesy of the artist.
Shelley Niro, Red Heels Hard
Shelley Niro, Mohawks in Beehives I, 1991, hand-coloured
black and white print. Courtesy of
the artist
Shelley Niro, Mohawks in Beehives I
Shelley Niro, The Rebel, 1982 – 1987. Hand-coloured black and white print. Courtesy of the artist.
Shelley Niro, The Rebel
Shelley Niro, Five Hundred Year Itch, 1992. Silver gelatin print heightened with paint; toned silver gelatin print; silver gelatin in hand-drilled
overmat. Courtesy of the artist.
Shelley Niro, Five Hundred Year Itch
Shelley Niro, The Shirt, (detail) 2003. Nine duratrans transparencies in lightboxes. Art Gallery of Ontario.
Purchase with assistance from the Estate of P.J. Glasser, 2016. © Shelley Niro
Shelley Niro, The Shirt
Shelley Niro , Abnormally Aboriginal, 2014. Print on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Shelley Niro , Abnormally Aboriginal
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award, Exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, April - August 2018. Photo by Larissa Issler.
Shelley Niro, Scotiabank Photography Award
2018 Primary Exhibition

Shelley Niro
Scotiabank Photography Award: Shelley Niro

April 28–August 5, 2018
Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould St

Shelley Niro’s uniquely crafted visual language has led us on a journey that crosses many paths. Masterfully juggling subtle and certainly provocative images, she determinately triggers senses and stirs memory to uncover and recover inspirational narratives that centres her fulfillment of being a “Mohawk girl.” The stories are universal, but often have two sides. These parallel divisions draw from the negotiated Kahswentha treaty that subscribes to equity, sovereignty, and respect. Niro reflects on both sides to counter the erasure of identity, and shines a light on the stories the land holds. She explains, “I use my knowledge as extensively as I can. There is poetry in recognizing designs, symbols, and I feel it continues on the journey of ancestors who have invented these symbols from days gone by. Hiawatha was an artist who used his skills to deliver the Great Law. The creation story is powerful, and the ancients liked cinema as much as we do.” Her ability to poke and prod is upfront and bold because it forces us to look, and to look again. The stage she sets is performed with both humour and tragedy to shift the subjective lens that women and Onkwehón:we have endured. —Ryan Rice

Excerpted from “Taiakoia’tenhátie / / freefall: The photography of Shelley Niro,” in Shelley Niro: Scotiabank Photography Award (Toronto—Göttingen: Scotiabank Photography Award—Steidl, 2018)

The Scotiabank Photography Award is the largest peer-reviewed photographic art award in Canada, recognizing an established artist working in the medium. Shelley Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. She uses photography, painting, beadwork, installation, and video to redefine contemporary Indigenous experience and identity. This survey exhibition celebrates Niro’s career, and includes more than 70 objects, spanning from 1991 to 2017, featuring seminal works and never-before-shown photographs, along with some of the artist’s recent projects. The accompanying book also presents a coherent overview of Niro’s work, and both the exhibition and the book serve as prestigious acknowledgements of her outstanding contribution to the field.

Presented by Scotiabank, organized and presented in partnership with the Ryerson Image Centre

Curated by Gaëlle Morel

Scotiabank CONTACT
Photography Festival

80 Spadina Ave Suite 205
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
Gallery Hours
Tue-Fri 11am–5pm
The CONTACT Gallery
is wheelchair accessible.