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Scotiabank Photography Award: Shelley Niro

Opening party and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival launch party: April 27, 7–11 pm
April 28 – August 5, 2018
Main Gallery and University Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre
Curator: Gaëlle Morel

This survey exhibition celebrates the career of artist Shelley Niro, winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award. With more than seventy objects, this retrospective includes both seminal projects and never-before-shown photographs, along with some of the artist’s most recent works. A member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan, Niro combines beadwork designs, archival images, family pictures, videos, and installation to question traditional representations of Indigenous peoples, with a particular focus on womanhood. Challenging stereotypes, Niro’s portraits explore notions of culture and identity with sensitivity and humour.


Opening Party
Friday, April 27
7:00–11:00 PM

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 PM

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

A primary exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Fig. 1

Shelley Niro, The Shirt, 2003, lightbox. Courtesy of the artist

A woman wearing a shirt that says: They were lied cheated tricked and deceived
Fig. 2

Shelley Niro, The Shirt, 2003, lightbox. Courtesy of the artist

Three women posing wearing what looks like makeup that has been photoshopped on
Fig. 3

Shelley Niro, Mohawks in Beehives I, 1991, hand-coloured black and white print. Courtesy of the artist

A triptych of three women, one dressed as Marilyn Monroe

Shelley Niro, Five Hundred Year Itch, 1992, GSP heightened with paint; toned GSP; GSP in hand-drilled overmat. Courtesy of the artist

Artist Bio

Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in photography, painting, beadwork, and film. Her work focuses on themes of identity, and challenges stereotypes and colonial representations of Indigenous peoples, with a particular focus on Indigenous women. With directness and humour, she crafts new narratives based on the past, pop culture, and her own lived experience. These new narratives force us to reflect on history making, representation and memory, while her work champions self-actualization and liberation. Shelley Niro was named the recipient of both a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2017.


A primary exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival