Opening: Friday, January 20, 7:30 pm
Runs: January 20-February 25, 2017
Shelley Niro presents works selected from the Flying Woman series. These photographs combine collage, mirroring, and dot patterns that evoke beadwork. While the scenes portray contemporary life, the startling inclusion of a “flying woman” evokes the Haudenosaunee legend of Sky Woman. Playfully subversive, these images speak of the ongoing vitality and resistance of First Nations culture.
Don Russell presents work from a developing series called Demasduit’s Blanket. Demasduit, also known as “Mary March” in Newfoundland folklore, is said to be the last remaining Beothuk, which is not entirely true. Her story of capture, captivity, attempted assimilation, illness and return to the area in which she was originally taken is one that speaks of the weight of injustice and cultural ignorance. “I have always been captivated by her story and the enigma of who she was,” notes Russell. “I often thought how she may have seen the world around her on those days of her St. Johns residence and eventual illness leading to a long voyage back to the mouth of the exploits river. Her mind must have shifted from one world to another in ways that may have been difficult to control.” Russell explores this theme through a series of large oil paintings. Accompanying sketchbooks are presented to expand the narrative and give a glimpse of the artist’s process.
Shelley Niro was born in Niagara Falls, NY. Currently Niro lives in Brantford Ontario. Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quine Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist. Her work involves photography, painting, beadwork and film. Niro is conscious of the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people. Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Masters of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Shelley Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council.
Don Russell, born in Stephenville, Newfoundland, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in fine art from the University of Guelph in 1995 and completed the Advanced Studies Program at the Dundas Valley School of Arts in 2002. Exhibiting professionally since 1997, Russell has been awarded grants including those from the Ontario Arts Council and the Métis Cultural Development Initiative. Russell’s work has been widely reviewed and featured in news publications and exhibition catalogues. His works are included in private, corporate and public collections throughout Canada, notably counted among them is Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence.