Shelley Niro & ElizaBeth Hill

The Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative and The Fralin Museum of Art will be hosting Indigenous artists Shelley Niro and ElizaBeth Hill at the University of Virginia from September 20th to October 5th. During their residency period, Hill and Niro will present their art forms to the University and Charlottesville communities, teach masterclasses for UVA students in Art, History, and American Studies, and engage with the Pamunkey and Monacan Nations. 

Shelley Niro (Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Kanien’kehaka Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan) is a multimedia artist who works in photography, painting, sculpture, poetry, film, and beadwork. Niro uses her work to disrupt stereotypical representations of Native people as “vanishing,” to address the objectification of Native women, to explore the family and community connections between ancestral traditions and contemporary realities of indigenous lived experiences, and to honor, reflect upon, and critique historical and contemporary treaty, sovereignty, and land issues. She recently received two prestigious Canadian art awards, the 2017 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Scotiabank Photography Award.

ElizaBeth Hill (Mohawk) is a singer-songwriter whose music reflects both her Native background and her past experience living and working in Nashville, Tennessee. Hill writes lyrics in both English and Mohawk and composes music for dance, theatre, and film. She was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2005 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, Best Female Artist and Best Producer at the 2000 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and Best Music Aboriginal Canada at the 2000 Canadian JUNO Awards.

The public program of events for their visit includes a concert by ElizaBeth Hill at The Fralin Museum of Art on Thursday, September 21st at 5:30pm and an artist talk by Shelley Niro on Thursday, September 28th at 6pm in Campbell Hall, room 153.

Kissed by Lightning, a film directed by Shelley Niro with music by ElizaBeth Hill, will be screened in Newcomb Theatre at the University of Virginia on Tuesday, September 26th at 5:30pm. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a Q&A session with the artists, moderated by Karenne Wood, director of the Virginia Indian Program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. This event is supported by an Arts Enhancement Grant from the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts.

This program is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Fralin Museum of Art, and the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, and is sponsored by Arts Enhancement Fund for 2017-2018 from the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts. For more information regarding Shelley Niro and Elizabeth Hill's visit, please contact Amanda Wagstaff,, or Adriana Greci Green, Curator of Indigenous Arts of the Americas,

Photos: Shelley Niro (Left) and ElizaBeth Hill (right). Photos courtesy of the artists.




Photos, clockwise from top left: Kissed By Lightning film poster courtesy of VTape Distributions; ElizaBeth Hill, Karenne Wood, & Shelley Niro post-film screening discussion; Shelley Niro speaking with Art History students; ElizaBeth Hill in concert at The Fralin