Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Katsitsionni Fox and Shelley Niro

by: Michelle L. Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions

Every two years Fenimore Art Museum has the pleasure of hosting the Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial. Since its beginning in 1995, the Biennial has been organized by G. Peter Jemison, manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, a recreation of a 17th-century Seneca village, located in Victor, New York. Peter, a Seneca, is also a visual artist and film director.

This year, Peter has selected Mohawk artists Katsitsionni Fox and Shelley Niro. Shelley is a painter, printmaker, photographer and filmmaker. Katsitsionni works in a variety of media including digital printing from photography, video making and installations.

For this year’s Biennial, both artists have created new art based on the story of Skywoman, who is an integral part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Creation Story, as well as their own contemporary Haudenosaunee cultural traditions. Niro has also rendered paintings relating to the Journey of Our Peacemaker who united the Haudenosaunee into a Confederacy of Five Nations. You can find the story of Skywoman here and here.

In his introductory text for the exhibition, Peter states: “Katsitsionni Fox and Shelley Niro have created art to help define the state of indigenous people in North America, the spirituality of our Indian Way of Life and the resilience of our people. Just as two women played a prominent role in how this earth came to be, Fox and Niro have important contributions to make. Their art is a reflection of the leadership and strength of our women.”

Our Stories Made Visible: Two Mohawk Women Artists, Katsitsionni Fox and Shelley Niro. The 7th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial opens April 1 at Fenimore Art Museum.
Left: Skywoman’s Daughter by Katsitsionni Fox
Right: Skywoman 2 by Shelley Niro

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