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Art Gallery of Hamilton
Fall Exhibitions

Shelley Niro: 1779
October 20, 2017 – March 18, 2018

Abedar Kamgari: The Journey West
October 20, 2017 – March 18, 2018

Opening reception with the artists: Thursday October 19, 5:30 pm – 7 pm
Screening of Kissed by Lightning (2009) at 7 pm, followed by a discussion with director Shelley Niro and Rhéanne Chartrand, McMaster Museum of Art Curator of Indigenous Art

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image
Shelley Niro (Mohawk b. 1954), Resting with Warriors, 2001, series of 4 woodcuts on wove paper. Art Gallery of Hamilton, Purchase, Permanent Collection Fund, 2016 © Courtesy Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro: 1779

Prompted by the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, renowned artist Shelley Niro looks back further to 1779, the year that 5,000 Haudenausaunee people arrived in Fort Niagara, having fled impending decimation in the state now known as New York. Forced from their homeland, many did not survive the migration. Those that did survive arrived starving and near death, seeking refuge from their British allies. As repayment for their loyalty and land lost, the Six Nations of the Haudenausaunee—Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora—were granted six miles of land on both sides of the Grand River, from its mouth to its source. This land has been continually depleted since the establishment of the Haldimand Proclamation in 1784; of the 950,000 acres originally set aside as the Haldimand Tract, only 48,000 acres remain.

Born in Niagara Falls, New York, Niro was raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. The exhibition 1779 features new videos, mixed media sculpture with sound, prints and photography that incorporate Niro’s unique reflective and biographical approach to art making. Poetic and understated, her works bring power to issues that lie close to the heart. In this exhibition, she looks to Niagara Falls as a means of illuminating the erasure of her people from their homelands. To the Haudenausaunee, Niagara Falls represents all that is sacred, and in the face of intergenerational trauma, it is a site of remembrance and healing. Situating new artworks in conversation with historical works from the AGH Permanent Collection, Niro explores the colonial legacy of the Collection, and modes of occupation through which traditional lands were taken, and new nations formed.

Co-curated by Melissa Bennett & Alana Traficante

Film screening details:
Kissed by Lightning
Thursday, October 19 at 7 pm | Screening at Art Gallery of Hamilton | Ticketed Admission
Director Shelley Niro, 2009, Canada, English, 94 min. Rating 14A | Drama
Winner, Milagro Award for Best Indigenous Film: 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival
Beautifully photographed, Niro’s film meditates on the loss of traditions, and the role of women in keeping them alive in this story of Mavis Dogblood (Kateri Walker), a Mohawk painter from Canada, haunted by the tragic death of her husband. Niro’s 2015 short film Niagara will also be shown.

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image
Abedar Kamgari (Canadian b. Tehran 1994), The Journey West, 2017, video still. © Courtesy Abedar Kamgari

Abedar Kamgari: The Journey West

In late-August 2004, Abedar Kamgari began moving west. She traveled with her mother by boat and train, leaving Iran for Turkey as a refugee; this was the start of the journey that eventually brought her to Toronto in 2006, and to Hamilton in 2012.

The Journey West is a durational performance-for-video and creative retelling of Abedar’s experience as a refugee and immigrant, enacted on the thirteenth anniversary of her initial departure. Walking the 87-kilometre distance from Toronto to Hamilton, traversing the land between her two adopted hometowns, Abedar invokes memories of this formative passage.

For its debut exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Abedar’s 30-hour video will be shown alongside research materials that informed the artist’s process, including historical artworks, and family archives. Through the thoughtful juxtaposition of material objects and re-enacted histories, Abedar points to the ongoing nature of diaspora, displacement, and evolving notions of shared cultural heritage.

Curated by Alana Traficante


Echo Artist Talk: Abedar Kamgari
AGH Annex, 118 James Street North, Hamilton
Thursday, November 16 at 7 pm
Free Admission
Echo Arts Talks are presented by the Hamilton Arts Council.

Please note that the exhibition Abedar Kamgari: The Journey West will be on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (123 King St. West, Hamilton, L8P 4S8); while the Echo Artist talk on November 16 will be held at the AGH Annex (118 James St. North, Hamilton, L8R 2K7).

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Admission to Gallery Level Two is always free to the public, including the exhibitions Shelley Niro: 1779 and Abedar Kamgari: The Journey West, courtesy of Orlick Industries.

About the Art Gallery of Hamilton
Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario and one of the top ten art museums in the country. Its permanent collection, which is focused on historical Canadian, 19-century European, and International and Contemporary art, numbers more than 10,000 works and is recognized as one of Canada's finest. The AGH is a vital creative hub and center of lifelong learning that enables people of all ages to enrich their lives by gaining a deeper understanding of art.

Media Contact: info@artgalleryofhamilton.com


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Art Gallery of Hamilton
123 King Street West
Hamilton, Ontario
L8P 4S8
(905) 527-6610
www.artgalleryofhamilton.com

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Gallery Hours:
Wednesday & Friday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The gallery is fully accessible