Canadian (born in U.S.A.), b. 1954
500 Year Itch, 1992
silver print on paper, 2/5
58 x 96 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre achetée avec l'aide du programme d'aide aux acquisitions du Conseil des Arts du Canada
Celebrated for her satricial photographs, Mohawk artist Shelley Niro frequently uses strategies of masquerade and parody in her work. 500 Year Itch is composed of three individual, full-length portraits. The image on the left is a hand-tinted photograph of the artist, dressed as pop icon Marilyn Monroe, complete with a fan, parodying Monroe’s famous skirt-billowing scene in the film The Seven-Year Itch. Five hundred years refers to the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492 on the shores of North America. The middle image, taken in the 1940s, shows one of Niro’s family members smiling in a fashionable dress of the period. The final image is also of the artist, wearing nondescript clothing, and acts as a counterpoint to the other two photographs.