Shelley Niro on Her Life in Art

Shelley Niro (Kanien’kehaka) grew up watching her father craft faux tomahawks to sell to tourists who flocked to her birthplace, Niagara Falls. In this episode of the Hyperallergic podcast, she reflects on how witnessing him create these objects planted the seeds for her brilliant multidisciplinary art practice spanning film, sculpture, beading, and photography. The National Museum of the American Indian in New York displayed a retrospective of her work titled Shelley Niro: 500 Year Itch, set to travel this June to the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario. Niro joined us in our Brooklyn studio for an interview, where she reflected on growing up in the Six Nations of the Grand River, the Native artists she discovered on her dentist’s wall but rarely encountered in a museum before the mid-1990s, and her latest obsession with 500 million-year-old fossils.

The music and sound effects in this episode are from the films “Honey Moccasin” and “Tree” by Shelley Niro, courtesy of the artist. 

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