OCAN announces 2019 recipients to four prominent leaders

TORONTO — Six Nations artist Shelley Niro has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by OCAD University.

Niro is a prolific Haudenosaunee visual and multimedia artist with a long list of provocative works examining the post-colonial world of being indigenous.

Niro is known for her works Mohawks in Beehives, This Land is Mime Land and M: Stories of a Woman are representative of the genre of her artwork. Her films include Honey Moccasin, It Starts with a Whisper, The Skirt, Kissed by Lightning and Robert’s Paintings. Recently, she finished her film, The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw.

Niro graduated from the Ontario College of Art, now OCAD University, with honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. In 2017, she received the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts from the Canada Council, the Scotiabank Photography Award and the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards.

Three others will also receive honorary doctorate degrees. Renowned artist, activist and educator, Jeannette Armstrong, PhD from the Syilx/Okanagan nations is a language teacher and a traditional knowledge keeper. She has a PhD in Syilx Indigenous Oral Literatures and Environmental Ethics, a master’s degree in Syilx Language and Culture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria.

Armstrong is the founder of En’owkin Centre, a Syilx/Okanagan institution of higher learning that delivers the National Aboriginal Professional Artist Development program supporting Aboriginal artists in recovering traditional art practice. Armstrong is the past recipient of awards for her visual and literary works, such as the 2016 BC Book’s George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for literature. She is also an author whose published works include academic writing on a wide variety of Indigenous issues as well as non-fiction, prose, poetry and children’s literary titles.

Famed cartoonist Barry Blitt and filmmaker Patricia Rozema will also receive honorary doctorates for their work.

This years ceremony will take place at Roy Thompson Hall on Friday, June 14.

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