Artist Talk: Shelley Niro

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Artist Talk: Shelley Niro
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CONTACT Photography Festival says
Artist Shelley Niro (Mohawk, Turtle clan), winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award, will discuss her site-specific public installation at Fort York with curator Bonnie Rubenstein and Six Nations scholar Thohahoken Michael Doxtater.

Due to construction in front of the Fort York Visitor Centre (250 Fort York Blvd), the parking lot is temporarily closed. Guests can park at the Green P lot at the corner of Strachan Ave and Fleet St (800 Fleet St). For accessibility parking/drop-off please call 416-392-7500. Pedestrian and cyclist access will be open via the east gate on Bathurst Street.

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In her ongoing series, "Battlefields of my Ancestors" (1987—), Niro captures the landscapes of her forebears and signs that evoke the past. At two distinct locations — Fort York and Ryerson University — Niro’s photographs are presented freestanding like signboards, and command attention. The images of American sites are positioned in opposition to those captured in Canada. Both installations include photographs of memorial plaques and provide documentary evidence. The artist cites the devastating events of the Sullivan Campaign in particular, and its scorched earth policy that left the Cayuga villages and crops burned to the ground and forced the Iroquois to flee. "Cayuga Lake" (2014), for instance, describes the “‘Site of a Very Pretty Town of Ten Houses,’ Burned September 21, 1779.” Other images are reminiscent of scenic postcards, such as "Grand River" (2006), which arrests the flow of water — from the source to mouth — while reflecting a litigious background. Many of Niro’s photographs point to the unresolved land claims made by descendants of the Cayuga villagers — some of whom were also sovereign allies to the British — now residing on the Six Nations Reserve, near Brantford, Ontario, where the artist was raised.
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By: CONTACT Photography Festival