Tree (2006)

Shelley Niro

For Fearless and Other Indians
7 colour photographs on paper and decorated mat
121.9 x 83.82 cm each
Collection of Indigenous Art Centre, Gatineau, Canada
Courtesy of the artist

Single-channel video, b/w, colour and sound
5 minutes
Courtesy of the artist and Vtape, Toronto


Shelley Niro’s practice challenges the clichéd perceptions and circumscribed expectations projected onto First Nations communities. The protagonist of the film Tree (2006) is a young Indigenous woman personifying Mother Earth who, dismayed at the exploitation of the planet, vows to return and start anew. For Fearless and Other Indians (1998) comprises a series of prints mounted on a decorated mat, depicting the Statue of Liberty from a variety of angles and vantage points. Each image is inscribed with graffiti-like white lettering challenging the figure’s monumental status. Here, Niro appropriates the kitschy trappings of American tourism and turns it against itself.