Shelley Niro b. 1954

Shelley Niro is a member of the Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk Six Nations Grand River Reserve. Niro is a practising artist, concentrating on painting, photography, and film.


Niro completed a diploma in graphic arts at Durham College, focusing on photography, drawing and art history. She continued her education at The Ontario College of Art, and Western University, where she received her MFA. In 2019, Niro was honoured with an honorary Doctorate from the Ontario College of Arts and Design, University. In 2023 Niro received an honorary doctorate of Law from the University of Western Ontario.


Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017, Niro received the Governor General’s Award for The Arts, The Scotiabank Photography Award, and the Hnatsyshyn Foundation Reveal Award. In 2022, Niro was presented with the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation. Niro is an honorary elder in the Indigenous Curatorial Collective.


Niro’s work has been acquired by various public collections, including The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Art Gallery of Hamilton; The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Toronto; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Portrait Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Art Bank of Canada, Ottawa; The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; The Rockwell Museum of Western Art, New York; The Washington State Library; The New York State Museum; and The Iroquois Museum, New York.


Her work has been included in exhibitions throughout Canada and Internationally, including The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Banff Centre for the Arts; The Art Gallery of Hamilton; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Minneapolis Institute of Art; The Taserliak Cultural Centre, Greenland; The Martin-Gropius Bau, Germany; The University of Foscari, Italy.


Her Film work has been featured in various film festivals, both Canadian and International. In 2009, her first feature film, Kissed by Lighting, premiered at Toronto’s ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and won the Santa Fe Film Festival’s 2009 Milagro Award for Best Indigenous Film. Her Short Film The Shirt was presented at the 2003 Venice Bienalle and the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Other films include, Honey Moccasin, Its Starts with a Whisper, The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw and Café Daughter.