Image credit: Shelley Niro, Hunger, 2008. Still courtesy of V-Tape.


Curated by Franchesca Hebert-Spence


Shelley Niro’s work has long been lauded for her pops of humour, revisioning stories from that have been shared with her, as well as narratives that address historical and ongoing colonialism that affects communities to this day. What makes Shelley’s work truly special is the way in which her work approaches and constantly considers youth – specifically Kanien’kehá:ka youth – as an audience. In doing so, Shelley’s work remains powerful, making nods to visual cues that other Indigenous folks will see and appreciate, while also not diving into the depths of taking itself too seriously.

Calling Through the Trees engages with the ways in which Shelley’s work wields the power to resonate with community members’ hearts, serving as a touchstone within storytelling.

Calling Through the Trees is a multimedia installation/exhibition featuring thirteen short films, including Suite: INDIAN, Sky Woman With Us, Hunger, Niagara, The Flying Head, and My Heart is in the Forest. Calling Through the Trees installation takes a novel approach to gallery-based film experiences, bringing in elements of theatres and gatherings – challenging the ways in which we’ve come to expect to consume cultural production.


SHELLEY NIRO was born in Niagara Falls New York. Shelley is a member of the Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawkrand River Reserve. Niro is a practising artist, concentrating on painting, photography and film. In 2017 Niro was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Governor General award in Visual Art, the Reveal Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation, Dreamcatcher’s Visual Award and the Scotiabank Photography Award. In 2020 Niro was presented with the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Currently residing in the unceded Algonquin territory of Ottawa, FRANCHESCA HEBERT-SPENCE is Anishinaabe from Winnipeg, Manitoba, her grandmother Marion Ida Spence was from Sagkeeng First Nation, on Lake Winnipeg. Her creative practice stems from Ishkabatens Waasa Gaa Inaabateg, Brandon University Visual and Aboriginal Arts program. She is a curator, writer, cultural producer and a PhD student in Cultural Mediations (Visual Culture) at Carleton University.


This exhibition is presented in partnership with the 23rd annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.