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Niro, Shelley
Are You My Sister? Are You My Sister?
1994 1994

Shelley Niro is known for her photo-based art practice and films exploring issues of identity. In this piece, she presents photographic portraits of her mother (Chiquita June Doxtater), her sister, a daughter, and an assortment of female First Nations artists. Women who have provided Niro with a firm and enabling sense of self are the celebrated subjects of many of her works. “Are You My Sister?” proposes to bring the mutuality of feminine connection within the family to the larger family of First Nations women thus posing the question of the contemporary relevance of a legacy of matriarchal tradition. While Niro often uses humour and flamboyant masquerade in her work, the subjects here do not perform for the camera but rather exude a relaxed acceptance of self. Niro includes two silhouettes, one a white void within the landscape, and the other depicting an iconic leaf-woman. The final photograph is a scene of the banks of the Grand River, near where Niro grew up at Brantford Ontario. The installed photographs are presented in matt-boards drilled with decorative arabesques based on Iroquois “Masonic” trade-silver brooch design. “Are You My Sister?” seeks to promote a sense of community among all Indigenous women while highlighting the importance of place in the formation of identity.

Niro, Shelley
Niagara Falls NY 1954 Niagara Falls NY 1954
Are You My Sister? Are You My Sister?
1994 1994
Photographs on drilled mat board Photographs on drilled mat board
101.6 cm x 701 cm ()
Purchased with the support of the Canada Council's Acquisition Assistance program, 1996 Purchased with the support of the Canada Council's Acquisition Assistance program, 1996
40-005a-n

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