Shelley Niro, Monster: Stories of Women, Ancestor, 2011.
November 8 to December 6, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 22 at 8pm | AKA & PAVED are proud to host the Transformation, Testimony & Warrior Woman: Stop the Silence joint openings as well as a reception for the Stronger Than Stone symposium
Curated by Felicia Gay
Stronger Than Stone: (Re)Inventing the Indigenous Monument
Calgary, Friday, November 21 & Saturday, November 22, ACAD
Sunday, November 23 & Monday, November 24, Wanuskewin Heritage Park
This symposium brings together world-renowned Indigenous and non-Indigenous speakers to deliver presentations and performances, and to engage in conversations that will constitute an original public dialogue about land, language and the creation of public sites of memory.
Ongoing Reading Lists by Leah Bruce, Fine Arts Coordinator, Francis Morrison Central Library are created to accompany each exhibition. The November list explores storytelling, activism and protest in art and can be found here.
Transformation featuring new work by Joi T. Arcand and Shelly Niro is an interesting look into the power of transformative change.
Monster – Stories of Women, is a series in which Niro explores the Haudenosaunee story of Skywoman in order to create another kind of image of Indigenous women with a legacy beginning in the Skyworld. It is a transformation story not uncommon in many Indigenous story telling and teachings and can relay strategies of self evolution and healing. The theme of transformation is not unlike many traditional strategies such as humour or the use of trickster as an unsettler; it is a way for Indigenous artists to address and reframe colonial frameworks that are prevalent in institutions of power like the gallery and museum space.
Continuing the theme of transformation is Arcand’s new work The Beautiful NDN Supermaidens ™ featuring different Indigenous women empowered as Supermaidens. The concept of the super hero is an American invention and in its early beginnings the artists and writers were often the sons of immigrants, primarily Jewish. It could be said that the idea of superhero was birthed out of a time of great poverty and oppression and became an opportunity for particular artists to transform their characters and indeed themselves into figures of power. Currently Indigenous women are counted as among the least protected and most vulnerable in our country. Transformation is a traditional concept that still holds weight within our Indigenous communities and powerfully works to reframe the notion of power and Aboriginal women. Together, Arcand and Niro’s practices are connected thematically to address, in a multi-faceted way, Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Joi T. Arcand is a photo-based artist and Co-founder and Editor of Kimiwan Zine- She was raised in her home community of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan and currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. She has served as chair of the board of directors for Paved Arts in Saskatoon and was the co-founder of the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary Aboriginal art gallery in Saskatoon. Her work has been exhibited at Gallery 101 in Ottawa, York Quay Gallery in Toronto, Mendel Art Gallery and Paved Arts in Saskatoon, grunt gallery in Vancouver, and published in BlackFlash Magazine.
Shelley Niro is known for multidisciplinary works, and specifically photographic works that reveal and challenge stereotypical images of First Nations people. Raised on the Six Nations Reserve near the town of Brantford, Ontario, Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk. Over the years she has worked in a variety of media including beadwork, painting, photography, and film. Through her work, the artist prompts viewers to examine perceptions and portrayals of Native North Americans, particularly images of women.