Gerald McMaster heading to 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Dr. Gerald McMaster, photo by Sebastian Kriete
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

OCAD U’s Gerald McMaster, together with an Indigenous design team, is representing Canada at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The Canada Council for the Arts announced that the Indigenous project UNCEDED has been selected through a national juried competition to represent Canada at the Architecture Biennale. 

Led by internationally-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal, the team includes Anishnaabe Elders and Indigenous co-curators, Dr. Gerald McMaster, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University, and Dr. David Fortin, incoming director of the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University. Joining them is a decorated group of Indigenous architects from across North America.

“Having represented Canada as curator to the 1995 Venice Biennale of Visual Arts, and to be asked to be lead curator by such a distinguished group of Indigenous architects is both an honour and privilege," says Dr. McMaster. 

UNCEDED will emphasize and celebrate the work of Indigenous architects and designers throughout Turtle Island. It is grounded in the legacy of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report.

Dr. McMaster has more than 30 years of international work and expertise in contemporary art, critical theory, museology and Indigenous aesthetics. Throughout his career, his championing of the mainstream value of Indigenous art, among other things, has led to his being chosen to represent Canada at a number of prestigious international events.

Red Slam, Music With a Message: We Are Still Here

Friday, September 8, 2017 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

Red Slam in collaboration with the Faculty of Design and the Indigenous Visual Culture Student Centre at OCAD University humbly presents: WE ARE STILL HERE an immersive one-hour live concert connecting the public to a celebration of indigenous resiliency and re-imagining our future together through live music, live art, audience interaction and positive vibrations.

All those with an open mind and heart are welcome, let's kick off a new school year with a renewed sense of purpose and solidarity.


Artist Bio:

Red Slam Collective, a TD~Toronto Arts Foundation Diversity Arts Award Finalist is an indigenous hip hop fusion arts movement formed in 2009 and based in Tkaronto; whose 4Directions Urban Arts workshops, musical projects, artist residencies and audience engaged performances uplift, self-identify and promote unity through Spoken, Lyricism which Arranges Meaning (SLAM). Red Slam known as the #1 Protest Musical Performance Group in Tkaronto has performed in places like: Port Credit, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brantford, Six Nations, Akwesasne, Manitoulin Island, Victoria BC, Vancouver BC, and New Mexico. Opening for such notable artists as: Tanya Tagaq, Martha Redbone, Veronica Johnny and the Johnny’s, Plex, Inter-Tribal, Kinnie Starr, Digging Roots and most recently Hip Hop Legends Main Source. 2016 they performed at AGO in Long Dragon House; Summer Works in Intent City and Headlined at UNITY HipHop Festival. 2017 they released Right Level a mash-up of lyricism, HipHop beats; live music, and oral telling of today’s indigenous way. You can catch Red Slam next as the headlining opening musical act for the 2017 Nuit Blanche Festival at Nathan Phillips SQ  Sept 30th 7pm.

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We Are Still Here Collective Contributors:

Mahlikah Awe:ri Enml'ga't Saqama'sgw (The Woman Who Walks In The Light) is a Haudenosaunee Mohawk/Mi'kmaw drum talk poetic rapologist; poet, musician, hip-hop MC, arts educator, radio host, curator, facilitator, Director of Programming for Neighbourhood Impact for the TD Centre of Learning Regent Park and TAC Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow. Vocals, Hand Drum, Shaker. 

Skratchwon, Dene from Alberta. About a year and a half ago Skratch won founded Indagenius a hiphop crew about social awareness through lyricism and clothing designs, and skate boards. Skratch won also facilitates hiphop education workshops through Sketch and does Murals across Turtle Island. Vocals, Beat Box, Beats.

Ruben “Benny” Esguerra, Indigenous from Bogota, Colombia is a musician, poet, educator, activist and the current P.E.A.C.H: Programme Coordinator and Instructor in the Jane and Finch Community. As the lead creative behind the New Traditions Project Ruben has released two recording projects which explore indigenous-afro identity within South America and the Condor and Eagle prophecies of alliance of the South and the North. Percussion's and Flute.

William Charbonneau, songwriter, musical composer, and multi instrument musician (Guitar, Bass and Keys). He is currently the Public Service Assistant and occasional Branch Head, at both Centennial Library and Toronto Public Library. Guitar, Vocals.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street, Auditorium (MCA190)
Red Slam @ OCAD U
Embed Video: 
Digital Screen: 

Indigenous Visual Culture office

Admissions Segment: 

Indigenous Student Services

The Indigenous Visual Culture (INVC) Student Centre offers a welcoming learning environment with a wide range of specialized services to support academic, cultural, social and emotional well-being of Indigenous students at OCAD University. 

The INVC Student Centre is a culturally activated space where students can meet, study or relax between classes. We host weekly events, guest lectures, workshops, visiting artists, field trips and a number of extra curricular activities supporting Indigenous visual arts and culture.
The Indigenous Visual Culture Student Centre is also welcoming to non-Indigenous students and visitors and is a resource for all OCAD U students, faculty and staff. The centre includes a resource library and archive, computer workstations, lounge, workspace and amenities including a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and snacks.

Services include:

Indigenous Student Counselor

The Indigenous Student Counselor - Shawna Howe provides one-to-one counseling services and culturally safe programs to support Indigenous students. The counsellor brings an Indigenous approach to wellness counseling by supporting students holistic (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) health and well-being, and facilitating weekly drumming circles, holistic wellness workshops and a visiting Elders program. These services are free, accessible, inclusive and non-judgmental.

Shawna Howe is a two-spirited, Anishinaabe and Mi’kmaq woman, with ancestors from Cape Croker and Shubenacadie First Nation. Shawna’s Spirit name is Red Cedar Tree Woman/Wolf Clan. Shawna is a painter, writer, beader, drummer and storyteller. She loves spending time on the land learning about traditional medicines and Indigenous art healing modalities. Shawna has spent several years volunteering in the Toronto Indigenous community and has worked in diverse roles supporting Indigenous students and Elders in post-secondary education. Shawna has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ryerson University and a Masters of Indigenous Social work from Wilfrid Laurier University.

How to book an appointment:
If you would like to book a counseling appointment, or you have any questions, you can contact Shawna directly or stop by her office.
Phone: 416-967-6000 ext 349  
Location: 113 McCaul Street, 4th floor, room 401c
Schedule: Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday/ 9:00-5:00pm

Indigenous Mentor/Advisor

Indigenous Mentor/Advisor - David General assists students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with one on one support. The Mentor/Advisor acts in the capacity of a role model specializing in the arts for those students seeking creative advice and career counseling. The Mentor/Advisor also acts as a community liaison who builds bridges across the OCAD University and Indigenous community. 

Involvement and application are mantras of David General, Six Nations Elected Chief, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, hunter and fisher are but a few of experiences he offers as examples for building a well rounded and balanced practice. An accomplished artist, Dave General has a wide scope of knowledge and experience ranging from Indigenous history, culture, art, politics and current events to the effectiveness of materials and presentations for specific projects.

Available or to book an appointment contact:
David General
Office: 416-977-6000 ext. 2265 or
Schedule: Tuesday & Wednesday/ 8:00am - 3:30pm

Academic Support

Writing and Learning Consultant: Indigenous Student Support - Nancy King provides tutoring support and academic guidance for the INVC program and students through one-to one consultations and culturally-based group workshops. The consultant works closely with OCAD U’s Writing and Learning Centre to organize workshops in writing, studying, and research for Indigenous students to support their learning objectives and writing skills.

Nancy King (Chief Lady Bird) is a Potawatomi/Chippewa artist from Rama First Nation with paternal ties to Moosedeer Point First Nation. She graduated from OCAD U's Drawing and Painting program in 2015 with a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture and has been exhibiting her work since she was fourteen years old. She works as a freelance painter, street artist, pow wow vendor and muralist, provides arts education through the TDSB's NAC10 program, facilitates workshops at the Native Learning Centre and has recently joined the INVC team as a Writing and Learning Consultant.

To book an appointment (9:00am – 5:00pm) contact: 
Writing and Learning Centre 
416-977-6000 ext. 229 or login into TutorTrac

For information on the Bead & Read or Mighty Pen contact



Wednesdays  9am  – 7pm 
Alternating Thursdays 9am  - 6pm and 4pm - 7pm
Alternating Fridays 12pm - 5pm


Outreach & Recruitment

Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator - Violet Chum recruits and promotes OCAD U and the Indigenous Visual Culture program across Ontario communities with the Aboriginal Post Secondary Information Program (APSIP) and liaises with students, communities, school boards and high school guidance counselors.  The Recruitment and Outreach coordinator offers support for potential students in applying to OCAD U, leads student tours of the campus, organizes the INVC Summer Art Workshop, community events, student orientation and activities to attract interested students to OCAD U. 

Violet Chum is a Moose Cree First Nation member from Moose Factory Island, Ontario. She graduated with a BFA (Drawing & Painting) from OCAD University and has a BA (Indigenous Learning) from Lakehead University. 

Contact information:
Violet Chum
416-977-6000 ext. 3353

Indigenous Visual Culture Program & Student Centre

Coordinator, Indigenous Visual Culture Program and Student Centre - Melissa General offers overall coordination, guidance, communication, services and administrative support for the Indigenous Visual Culture Student Centre. The coordinator also supports the administration and initiatives of the INVC program and Delaney Chair. 

Melissa General is from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at York University. Working in photography, installation and video, concepts involving memory, history, land and her Indigenous identity have been a focus in her practice. Her work has been exhibited at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Gallery 101, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography and has been included in the 2016 Contemporary Native Art Biennial in Montreal.

Contact information: 
Melissa General
416-977-6000 ext. 2261

Ongoing Events


Come socialize over a delicious lunch held every Wednesday.

Wednesdays from  12 to 2pm 
INVC Student Centre
Room 1401, Level 4, 113 McCaul


The Mighty Pen meets every Wednesday, where ideas are shared, stories are created, and working collaboratively with others.

Wednesdays from  4 to 6pm 
INVC Student Centre
Room 1401, Level 4, 113 McCaul


Bead & Read is a drop-in craft circle where we share ideas. Bring your readings and learn beading techniques. Find connections between ideas and art practices. We supply materials for beading.

Thursdays from 1 to 3pm
INVC Student Centre
Room 1401, Level 4, 113 McCaul Street.

Admissions Segment: 

Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita exhibition image
Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 8:00am to Sunday, August 27, 2017 - 9:00pm

The Indigenous Student Association at OCAD University is proud to present Terra Incognita, an exhibition that questions established narratives surrounding Canadian nationalism in light of #Canada150. Terra Incognita features work from a diverse group of emerging artists identifying as Indigenous, People of Colour and Settler-Ally working towards establishing a full, respectful  and  self- conscious future for Indigenous peoples.  

All 19 artists hail from all across Turtle Island, working in equally diverse mediums including painting, sculpture and new media:

Alexia Bread Anderson
Amanda Robertson-Hebert
Bernard Leroux
Connor Pion
Fallon Simard
Gabor Bata
Kaiatanoron Dumoulin Bush
Karalyn Reuben
Katsitsanoron Katty Dumoulin Bush
Kaya Dacosta
Lacie Kanerahtahsóhon Burning
Laura St. Amant
Mariah Meawasige
Megan Feheley
Michael Crawford
Oliver Roberts
Simon Shim
Seo Eun Kim
Ted Hoffie

Terra Incognita is supported by Artscape Daniel’s Spectrum, Indigenous Visual Culture and the Indigenous Student Association at OCAD University, and a generous donation from Lindy Green.


The Indigenous Student Association (ISA) is a group of students from OCAD U who wish to create a positive, nurturing, and inclusive community. The ISA strives to collaborate and unify perspectives and thoughts, through our artworks, community involvement, and exhibitions. We are active within our communities individually, but by coming together in the IASA, we can contribute collectively and work towards a common goal.


Venue & Address: 
Artscape Daniels Spectrum (2nd Floor), 585 Dundas St. East
Terra Icognita poster

LandMarks 2017 Art + Places exhibition

Image of a sewing machine and clothing in the wilderness
Friday, June 23, 2017 - 11:00am to Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 5:00pm

LandMarks: Art + Places is a group exhibition created by OCAD University students at Rouge National Park. The exhibition is the result of a-cross disciplinary course bringing curator Tania Willard and artists Cheryl L'Hirondelle and Camille Turner in conversation with students to produce multidisciplinary site-specific works.

In the form of limited-term on-site interventions at Rouge National Park, the artists’ works considers the political, economic and cultural implications of the stories we tell about ourselves through our relationships to land. These works reflect the very concept of nationhood by reconstructing narratives of identity that embrace indigeneity, engage with realities of colonialism and reimagine contemporary Canada.

Participating artists: Abigail Permell, Cassandra Smyth, Debora Purcelli, Dimitra Roussakis, Kaiatanoron Bush, Lizz Khan, Natasha Hirt, Robin Love, Tia Cavanagh, Yawen Guo and Vishal Luthra.

In the course, through readings, conversations with the artists and curator, site visits and ongoing discussions, students and faculty sought to problematize ideas of nationhood, concepts of nature, and explore intimate and public relationships to land. This course frames a critical context that marks a multi-faceted dialogue about land and the occasion of 150 years of Canada, pointing to futures and to much longer histories than 150 years of confederation. Dr. Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean, OCAD University Faculty of Art, is the Lead Advisor, Curriculum and Curatorial Engagement, for the LandMarks2017/ Repères2017 project. 

Faculty: Min Sook Lee and Laura Millard

Opening reception: Friday June 23, 11 a.m., Rouge Beach, Rouge National Park

Free bus charter from OCAD University to Reception: Location, Bus leaves from OCAD University 100 McCaul St. at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
Rouge Beach, Rouge National Park Free bus departs from OCAD University, 100 McCaul St. at 10 a.m.

Landmarks 2017 event with OCAD U alumnae Cheryl L’Hirondelle & Camille Turner

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 11:30am to Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 5:00pm

Whose stories are we missing when we speak about land and freedom? It’s a profoundly important question for artists, Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Camille Turner, who share a keen interest in the mapping of public memory — our countless stories untold and songs unsung.

Their Freedom Tours project for LandMarks 2017/Repères 2017 focuses on Ontario’s Thousand Islands National Park and Rouge National Urban Park. As the oldest park east of the Rockies, the Thousand Islands is rich in diverse, place-based narratives. The artists will host boat tours of the area that reimagine some of these histories in song. The Park comprises Akwesasne Mohawk lands and, given the proximity of the waters to America, borderlands — so the storytelling potential is vast.

This dynamic artist pairing is inspired by concerns about freedom that drive both L’Hirondelle’s work with incarcerated women and song, and Turner’s enquiry into underrepresented histories of the black experience in Canada.

On June 17 and June 18, hop on a free charter bus from OCAD University to the launch location of the Freedom Tours boat tour near Kingston, Ontario.

Book your spot to on the bus and from the event here, then click here to get your free tickets for the boat tour. The charter bus departs at 11:30 a.m. sharp,and  the cruise runs from 3 p.m. to 5. pm. 



Venue & Address: 
Free bus departs from OCAD U, 100 McCaul St. to Ivy Lea Cruise, 95 Ivy Lea Road, Thousand Islands

OCAD University to install Salah Bachir as Chancellor at convocation

Monday, June 5, 2017

OCAD University will formally install Salah Bachir, president of Cineplex Media, as Chancellor at the university’s convocation ceremonies at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on June 9, 2017.

The university will also award Bachir an honorary doctorate alongside three other outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to Canadian culture, art and design: architect Harriet Burdett-Moulton, artist Kent Monkman and Ada Slaight, one of Canada’s leading philanthropists.

OCAD U celebrates these honorary degree recipients for their contribution to Indigenous knowledge and culture in their creative fields, for their passionate belief in the importance of visual arts and for their spirit of philanthropy in the cultural sector and beyond.

A successful entrepreneur, publisher and media executive, Bachir is a passionate patron of the arts whose diverse art collection features many works of Canadian artists, both emerging and established. He is a strong supporter of numerous cultural events, organizations and programs.
“Salah Bachir is a wonderful addition to the OCAD University community as our new Chancellor, taking on the important role of the university’s chief ambassador,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Not only does he have a passion for art and phenomenal success in the field of digital media, his personal values of diversity, equity and inclusion are deeply embedded in our DNA, which makes him the perfect fit for this role.”

OCAD University celebrates the graduation of almost 800 of its students this year. The university’s 22 medal winners in their respective programs will receive their awards, and faculty members will be honoured for their contributions with teaching awards.

The new Chancellor will be installed during the first ceremony at 10:30 a.m. which will recognize graduands from the Faculty of Design with Bachir and Burdett-Moulton receiving their honorary doctorates. The second ceremony, at 3:30 p.m., will honour graduands from the Faculty of Art, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Graduate Studies. Monkman and Slaight will receive their honorary doctorates at the afternoon ceremony.

OCAD University’s Board of Governors is pleased to award the title of Chancellor Emerita/us to past chancellors Rosalie Sharp, the Honourable James K. Bartleman and Catherine (Kiki) Delaney to pay tribute to their ongoing support of the university.

“The title honours and celebrates these past Chancellors and their work with OCAD University, and it acknowledges their ongoing relationship with the institution. From time to time we will call upon them for their sage advice and counsel to the university,” said Dr. John Semple, Chair, OCAD University Board of Governors.


Salah Bachir

Salah Bachir, CM, is an entrepreneur, magazine publisher, and the president of Cineplex Media. He is also one of Canada’s most influential philanthropists and patrons of art.

After five years in the publishing industry, Bachir began the trade publication Premiere to serve the needs of the burgeoning video distribution and retail sectors. In 1999, Bachir launched Famous magazine, distributed as an in-house movie theatre publication. Now called Cineplex Magazine, its circulation and readership are among the highest of any in Canada.

Bachir has lent his extensive collection of art for exhibition to major Canadian institutions, and donated important works to the National Gallery of Canada, The London Regional Gallery, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Rideau Hall and the Canadiana Fund. In addition, he has provided extensive financial support to galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Oakville Galleries, and numerous Canadian university galleries.

Bachir has been a long-time supporter and patron of the LGBTQ community, sponsoring Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, the We’re Funny That Way comedy festival, the Inside Out film and video festival and The 519 community centre.

Health care is another of Bachir’s signature issues. He has helped raise millions for HIV/AIDS research and Toronto-area hospitals, including a $2.5 million donation to build a new dialysis unit at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. He is also a tireless voice for patients.

Harriet Burdett-Moulton

Harriet Burdett-Moulton is a Métis architect with primarily Inuit & Montagnais roots. She was born in Cartwright, Labrador and was raised “in a nomadic family deeply tied to seasonal hunting and the fishing cycle of the region.”

Formerly a school teacher, she returned to university to complete her architecture degree (1972-1976). Burdett-Moulton lived in Iqaluit where she worked for the government of the Northwest Territories and eventually relocated to Nunavut. With her husband, a mechanical engineer, they established the first architectural and engineering firm in the Eastern Arctic. In 2017, Burdett-Moulton became a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Ms. Burdett-Moulton has not only conducted a successful career in a traditionally male-dominated profession, but also applied her knowledge to “respond with ingenuity” to the needs of the Arctic communities with whom she shared her understanding of the land. One of Burdett-Moulton’s main strengths is her ability to understand and interpret First Nations culture in her designs, while adapting them to the extreme climactic conditions and the transportation restrictions of this remote region. The years spent in the Territories taught her how to truly listen to the Inuit and this put an end to the prevailing model that encouraged a “design for” rather than “design with” the communities. Her most elaborate project was the planning of the new Innu town of Natuashish, Labrador, that involved an extensive seven-year consultation process whose scope reached beyond public engagement,placing the importance on community decision making.

Kent Monkman

Kent Monkman is well-known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes. Themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience - the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience - are explored in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation.

His glamorous diva alter-ego Miss Chief appears in much of his work as an agent provocateur, trickster, and supernatural being, who reverses the colonial gaze, upending received notions of history and indigenous people. With Miss Chief at centre stage, Monkman has created memorable site-specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Compton Verney, and most recently at the Denver Art Museum. His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including the 2007 and 2008 Berlinale, and the 2007 and 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. His second national touring solo exhibition, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience will visit museums across Canada until 2020.

Monkman has been awarded the Egale Leadership Award (2012), the Indspire Award (2014), the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award (2014), and the Bonham Centre Award (2017).

His work has been exhibited internationally and is widely represented in the collections of major Museums in Canada and the United States. He is represented by Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain in Montreal and Toronto, Trépanier Baer in Calgary and Peters Projects in Santa Fe.

Ada Slaight

Ada Slaight (née Mitchell) is one of Canada’s leading philanthropists. For many decades, Ada Slaight’s generous gifts to organizations in Toronto and elsewhere have supported education, arts and culture, social services, and healthcare.

Theatre – and the performing arts in general – is one of Ada Slaight’s enduring passions. Organizations that have greatly benefitted from her generous and thoughtful philanthropic support and volunteer commitment include: OCAD University, Young People’s Theatre, National Theatre School of Canada, Soulpepper, Toronto Artscape, Royal Ontario Museum, Evergreen Brick Works, Vital Toronto Fund, National Ballet of Canada, VIBE Arts, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Harbour Island Day Nursery in the Bahamas.

From 1990 to 1998, Slaight served with distinction on the Board of Governors of the Shaw Festival in the roles of Governor, National Governor and Honorary Governor. Partly in recognition of her many contributions to the Shaw Festival, in 2009, the Academy at the Shaw Festival was re-named the Slaight Family Academy (the repertory theatre’s professional training, play development, publishing and public education wing).

A long-time supporter and advocate for OCAD University, Slaight served as a highly engaged and effective member of the volunteer fundraising cabinet for the “Ideas Need Space” capital campaign that resulted in the iconic Sharp Centre for Design. Recent benefaction to OCAD U has created the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Print Media, the Ada Slaight Entrance Scholarships, the Ada Slaight Studios, and the Ada Slaight Galleries.  




Photo of graduands at Roy Thomson Hall

Alumna Shelley Niro wins Scotiabank Photography Award

Image of three women with ornate hair and jewelry
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

OCAD U congratulates Shelley Niro (AOCA 1990) on receiving the seventh annual Scotiabank Photography Award. The prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award includes a $50,000 cash prize, a solo Primary Exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre during the 2018 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and a book of the winner's work to be published and distributed worldwide by renowned art book publisher, Gerhard Steidl.

Niro joins an exclusive group of artists who have been honoured with the Scotiabank Photography Award that includes Suzy Lake (2016), Angela Grauerholz (2015), Mark Ruwedel (2014), Stan Douglas (2013), Arnaud Maggs (2012) and Lynne Cohen (2011).

Niro was selected from a group of three finalists, which also included Raymonde April and Donigan Cumming, by a jury composed of pre-eminent ‎members of the Canadian arts community.

A member of the Turtle Clan of the Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) Nation, from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory, near Brantford, Ontario, she has demonstrated her dedication to producing art that contributes to Indigenous identity in Canada.

Niro creates complex visual experiences in a variety of media, including beadwork, painting, photography and film. Her work has been exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, and she has received considerable attention for her films.

Known for challenging conventional, colonial representations of Aboriginality with directness and humour, Niro crafts and retells Indigenous narratives by drawing on lived experienced, as well as themes of identity, self-determination and liberation.

An OCAD University alumna, Niro also studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts and received her MFA from the University of Western Ontario. To view some of Niro’s work, please visit her website.


OCAD U’s Dr. Gerald McMaster advisor on new CBC series 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CBC’s new ten-part docu-drama series, CANADA: The STORY OF US, highlights extraordinary moments in Canada’s history and people that helped forge a nation, from early Indigenous history to the 20th century.  The series was produced under the guidance of historians and academic consultants, including OCAD University’s Indigenous Scholar, Dr. Gerald McMaster, who served as one of the primary consultants. Ground-breaking curator, author, artist and educator, Dr. McMaster is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture & Curatorial Practice at OCAD U.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US takes viewers inside Canada’s history with dramatic re-enactments, ground-breaking CGI sequences and documentary-style virtual reality experiences. The series features the stories of Indigenous peoples, women, immigrants, pioneers, rule-breakers, scientists and entrepreneurs – many of them untold until now. The series highlights key moments spanning centuries of history beginning with Indigenous nations in the pre-contact era to 1608 with the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain in “Worlds Collide,” to the introduction of the sea otter trade by Mowachaht leader and statesman Chief Maquinna in “Hunting Treasure” (1778-1802), to “Boom Bust” (1911-1937) with populations exploding in urban centres, concluding with the creation of Nunavut in “Canadian Experiment” (1970-1999).

Each week, during the run of the series, in partnership with, the world’s largest online family history resource and an integrated sponsor of CANADA: THE STORY OF US, CBC will air a short vignette featuring a Canadian celebrity from the series, including Susan Aglukark, Wendy Crewson, Sarah Gadon, Mike Holmes, Missy Peregrym, Jennifer Podemski and Mary Walsh, who will discover something new and surprising about their own family histories.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US will also be brought to life online through a trio of immersive, 360-degree videos that will put viewers inside key moments in Canadian history. Through these interactive vignettes, viewers will be transported into the lives of Chief Maquinna; Laura Secord; and Richard Rettie and W.C. Wilkinson – two Canadian scientists who led a team to decode the Nazi Smart Bomb. Produced by Secret Location, all three 360 videos feature ambisonic sound to further immerse viewers in the scene. The videos will be available at and on Facebook for viewing on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

Series premieres Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. on CBC