Shelley Niro has won the $30,000 Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation. The honour recognizes, in particular, her work in art photography.
The award win was announced on February 26 and will be marked with an official ceremony on March 5 at the Robert Langen Art Gallery in Waterloo. (The Langen is hosting Niro’s most recent exhibition, “Something Cold and Hard like Winter.”)
Niro is a multidisciplinary artist and a member of the Six Nations Reserve. She has worked in a variety of media, and her art has been featured in exhibitions and museums across Canada and the United States, including at the National Museum of the American Indian. In 2017, she received both a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Scotiabank Photography Award.
“Throughout her long career, Niro has consistently pushed herself forward, using her photography to look unflinchingly at her life,” said the award jury in a release. “Her inspiring work tells the story of what Canada is and challenges stereotypes with unapologetic directness. Through mentorship, teaching and leadership, she has encouraged artists of every age and in so doing passes the legacy forward.”
The award jury this year comprised artist and Anna Leonowens Gallery director Melanie Colosimo of Halifax; artist and 2017 Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award recipient Rosalie Favell of Ottawa; and photographer Luther Konadu of Winnipeg.
The award was established by the late Norman Walford, former executive director of the Ontario Arts Council, and the late Paul de Hueck, former CBC television production manager. The award recognizes, in alternating years, a classical or jazz keyboard artist, an art photographer and a classical singer.
Previous award winners also include Moyra Davey (2015) and Larry Towell (2011).