Shelley Niro is widely known for her ability to explore Traditional Stories, transgress boundaries, and embody the ethos of her matriarchal culture. A member of the Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) Nation, she uses a wide variety of media, including photography, installation, film, and painting to bring greater visibility to Indigenous women and girls.
Pushing the limits of photography, Niro incorporates imagery from Traditional Stories to focus on contemporary subjects with wit, irony, and parody. Throughout her work — in her portraiture, sculptures, landscape paintings, photography, and film and video work — Niro challenges common preconceptions about gender, culture, and Indigenous Peoples.
Shelley Niro: 500 Year Itchbrings together 215 reproductions from Niro’s expansive oeuvre, including work published here for the first time. Also included in this career retrospective are three major essays about Niro’s work by Melissa Bennett, Greg Hill, and David W. Penney, as well as texts from seven guest artists, scholars, and curators.
Shelley Niro: 500 Year Itch is organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Hamilton with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), with curatorial support from the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). Co-curated by Melissa Bennett, AGH Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Greg Hill, Independent Curator, formerly Audain Senior Curator, Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada, and David Penney, Associate Director of Museum scholarship, Exhibitions, and Public Engagement at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.