OCAD U congratulates Shelley Niro (AOCA 1990) on receiving a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Each year, the awards honour seven artists for their artistic achievements and one person for their outstanding contribution to contemporary visual and/or media arts.
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.
Her short film, The Shirt, was presented at the 2003 Venice Biennale and the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, her first feature film, Kissed by Lightning, premiered at Toronto’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and won the Santa Fe Film Festival’s 2009 Milagro Award for Best Indigenous Film. Niro’s work can be found in the collections of galleries and museums across Canada.
A graduate of OCAD University, 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.