1001 Pl. Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montréal, QC H2Z 1H5
Shelby Lisk is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and photographer from Kenhtè:ke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) whose art practice explores her connection to and place in the world as a Kanyen’kehá:ka woman. Lisk has exhibited her artwork in Canada and the U.S., including Modern Fuel (Kingston, ON), Random Access Gallery (Syracuse, NY) and 2022 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery (Ottawa, ON), the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, ON) and the Artworks Centre for Contemporary Art (Loveland, Colorado). Her writing and photography have appeared in several publications including the Globe and Mail and Maclean’s Magazine. Lisk is a member of Indigenous Photograph and was nominated for the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award in 2021.
Approach and works on display
Shelby Lisk’s art practice explores her connection to and place in the world as a mixed-race Kanyen’kehá:ka woman, often interrogating what it means to straddle the line between her Haudenosaunee and Euro-Canadian identities. Lisk’s work is centred around themes of visibility/invisibility, land, place and displacement and she incorporates textiles, knitting and beading to reference storytelling and passing down of knowledge from a matrilineal line. She emphasizes the importance of non-institutionalized knowledge that is passed on in ways such as personal stories, traditions and craft. Lisk often uses the written word and imagery together to bring new meaning to one another – to interrupt, obscure or contradict, raising questions about our perceptions toward written versus spoken words as well as personal versus academic or Indigenous versus Western ideologies and worldviews.
Still Now Here We Are (2018)
Still now here we are was made in response to 11,000-year-old moccasin footprints that were found near Hanlan’s Point (Toronto Island) in 1908. The footprints – the traces of Indigenous history, however, were hastily paved over by construction workers. Many of our urban lands get disconnected from their roots and it’s important to remember the history of the land we live on. As she continues to practice her traditions, Lisk created a pair of moccasins with the beaded text “shé:kon nón:wa kèn:’en yákwe’s” (literally translated “still now here we are”) on their soles. The text is written forward and backward so that as we imagine the trace of our feet would leave, we are always looking back to our ancestors and forward to the next generation. In this festival, Lisk presents enlarged photographs of the moccasins as if the humble yet powerful voice of resistance is amplified and resonates.