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Shelley Niro’s Vision of Stories of Women Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019

There is an increasing tendency to discuss the peculiarities of definite social phenomena with the help of the art devices, which are necessary for expressing of the people’s individual viewpoints. Shelley Niro is one of the most famous Canadian photographers, painters, sculptors and filmmakers, and she always presents her own vision of social issues with the help of her outstanding works.

Shelley Niro graduated from the Ontario College of Art with honours in visual arts and received her MFA from the University of Western Ontario (Photography. M: Stories of Women). Nevertheless, she is constantly improving of her skills and trying to discover new possibilities of the art.

The most significant problem on which she focuses in her works is the woman question in the context of the problems of First Nations in Canada. Her works from the latest exhibition M: Stories of Women in Gallery 44 have added some more touches to the whole picture of her unique vision of a woman of First Nations.

The works from M: Stories of Women attract your attention immediately when you decide to enter the gallery. Bright colours of the large-scale works impress the visitors with their depth and intensity.

You become to be involved in a magnificent world of the women’s images which are definitely individual. “These large-scale works by First Nations artist Shelley Niro challenge the myth of native degradation and explore the many ways in which native females are viewed” (M: Stories of Women).

It is important that the author depicts these women with the help of using of many interesting multimedia techniques. The peculiarities of combining of the elements of photography and painting can add some more special strength to the pictures. It is interesting that the notion of ‘form’ requires a specific meaning in Niro’s works. There is no stability of the form in the works.

The pictures give the impression of some dynamics. This effect is the result of using of a special colour scheme in the works. Bright red, yellow and blue colors provide you with the feeling of some magnetism of the women’s images.

Shelley Niro always insisted on the individuality of every woman and expressed this attitude in her works. The problem of the image of a woman is also depicted in the title of the exhibition. “The letter M in the title references the myriad characterizations of First Nations women.

It could be taken to reference the earlier title and incarnation of the work (Monster) or it could reference other traits or roles such as Maternal or Mother” (Photography. M: Stories of Women).

The possibility to interpret the title in different ways is closely connected with the possibility of various interpretations of the works from the exhibition. “The ambiguity of the title affords Niro the ability to explore several issues in and outside the context of gender” (Photography. M: Stories of Women).

There are many challenges in our modern society which women can face every day. These challenges can influence the lives not only of the women of First Nations but also of women from all over the world. Nevertheless, the images of the women who are depicted in the pictures can surprise you with their strong feeling of self-confidence.

Moreover, there is something magical in Shelley Niro’s vision of a woman and of her position in the society as a representative of First Nations. The ways of the depiction of the reality in the pictures can surprise and even shock the public. “Niro’s exhilarating pieces incorporate found imagery, portraiture and landscape into a rich tapestry of women’s lives” (M: Stories of Women).

M: Stories of Women in Gallery 44 is an example of an exciting exhibition where the visitors can be impressed not only with the art peculiarities of the works by Shelley Niro but also with the peculiarities of the author’s unique vision of definite social issues.

Works Cited

M: Stories of Women, torontolife.com. n.d. Web.

Photography. M: Stories of Women, imaginenative.org. 19 Oct. 2011. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, July 2). Shelley Niro’s Vision of Stories of Women. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/shelley-niros-vision-of-stories-of-women/

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1. IvyPanda. "Shelley Niro’s Vision of Stories of Women." July 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shelley-niros-vision-of-stories-of-women/.


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IvyPanda. 2019. "Shelley Niro’s Vision of Stories of Women." July 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shelley-niros-vision-of-stories-of-women/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Shelley Niro’s Vision of Stories of Women'. 2 July.

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