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This Land is Mime Land: Shelley Niro
23 Oct 2005 – 11 Dec 2005
Shelley Niro, Love Me Tender, printed 1992, gelatin silver print heightened with paint, gelatin silver print, toned, gelatin silver print in hand-drilled overmatte, 55.9 x 94cm, Collection of Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
Shelley Niro is a member of the Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation, and a media artist renowned for her provocative humour. Each work in this exhibition is composed of three photographs mounted in an overmat perforated in a pattern reminiscent of traditional beadwork. The Mime Land compositions date from 1992, the year of the Columbus quincentennial, and bear titles such as Santa is a Dene, Love Me Tender, and Five Hundred Year Itch. In each of the photographic groupings, Niro appears in the guise of a Santa Claus, an Elvis impersonator, a Star Trek character, or some other iconic figure. The other photographs in each grouping present more straightforward portraits of Niro, her friends and relatives. By mixing various genres of performance for the camera, the artist models the processes through which Aboriginal identities are negotiated, especially in relation to mass media.
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