Shelley Niro: Thinking Of You

Museum London
August 1 to August 31, 2021
Curated by Peter Lebel and Matthew Ryan Smith


Shelley Niro, Resting Place Of Our Ancestors, 2019, digital photograph.

In this exhibition, photographs from artist Shelley Niro’s series’ Resting Place Of Our Ancestors and Final Moments Thinking Of You are paired with selected video works to examine the meaning of place, love, and the complex relationships between different communities. It is part of an experimental project developed to foster inclusion, shrink social distances (while retaining physical ones), and make meaningful connections. The exhibition has gathered new meaning after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found in a mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia.

Thinking Of You enacts a site of mourning and calls for justice as we continue to learn about Canada’s Indian Residential School System and the impact of genocide on Indigenous peoples and communities as settler colonialism continues to unfold in Canada. Presented outdoors, on screens facing the Deshkan Ziibi/Thames River at the Centre at the Forks, Museum London, these images reference the Medicine Wheel teachings, the interconnectivity between all things—a source of healing, of medicine that is both spiritual and physical.

Thinking Of You will be presented at scheduled times only, between the hours of sunset and sunrise.

Shelley Niro is a Brantford-based multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on Indigenous identity, history, and rights imbued with a deeply feminist perspective and rich humour. Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk. Her work encompasses filmmaking, photography, painting, sculpture, beadwork, and new media. Niro debuted her video The Shirt, at the Venice Biennale in 2003. In 2012, Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council. She was the winner of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2017. In 2020, Niro received the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award by the Ontario Arts Foundation. She has also directed several acclaimed feature films including Kissed by Lightning (2009) and The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw (2019).

In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation we would like to acknowledge that Museum London operates within the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron (Neutral), and Wendat peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. This territory is the homeland of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware Nation. We also recognize the contributions of Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples, both in shaping and strengthening this community in particular, and our province and country as a whole.

Museum London is Southwestern Ontario’s leading establishment for the collection and presentation of visual art and material culture. Through public and educational programming, special events and exhibitions, Museum London strives to promote the knowledge and enjoyment of regional art, culture and history.

For more information, please contact:
Peter Lebel

Matthew Ryan Smith