Elizabeth Chitty

I am a Canadian, settler artist (she/her), living 1 km from Twelve Mile Creek and 4 km from Lake Ontario, in St. Catharines ON where I was born in 1953 to parents who came to this territory with my sister from England in 1951. This territory has been the traditional hunting ground of many nations, most recently Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg peoples and is governed by the Dish With One Spoon and the treaties that followed including the Two Row Wampum. My father worked in the foundry at General Motors and at home worked with wood; after working outside the home my mother taught vocal music and speech arts at home. After graduating with an Honours B.A. in Fine Art, Modern Dance Major from York University in 1975, I spent my early career in Toronto and Vancouver where I was associated with 15 Dance Lab, A Space, Art Metropole, Western Front and Trinity Square Video. I returned to the Niagara area in 1988 where I have lived since.
Interdisciplinarity is at the core of my creative practice. I work at the intersection of performance, video, sound, photography, dance, and community-based strategies creating environments sited in the gallery, the stage and outdoors in urban and natural settings. I intend that my work offer multiple points of entry for public engagement with contemporary art and social discourse. I work from my lived experience.
My primary material is movement – of digital images, sound and the human body. Early work addressed information technologies, deconstruction of media, the material of performance and a feminism based in a notion of sexual agency. Walking was a key part of a body of work in the 1990s and emerged again more recently. Reflection on consciousness informed by Buddhist practice has been an intermittent theme since the early 1990s as has reflection on the relationship between indigenous and settler peoples in Canada. Water in the Great Lakes Basin, the infrastructure, governance and assumptions of its use have preoccupied most work since 2008. The totality of my practice navigates relationships in how we feel, think, move and create meaning in physical and social environments. My core question is –
What does it mean to be in a body, in this place, at this time, with others?
In parallel with my work as an artist, I have played many roles as a cultural worker in artist-run centres, provincial and municipal government, art service organizations (ASOs), and a public art gallery. My arts management career was primarily as Managing Director or Executive Director of ASOs, nationally, provincially and locally; Association of National Non-profit Artist-run Centres (ANNPAC, 1982-84), St. Catharines and Area Arts Council (2004-2008) and Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, Ontario Chapter (CADA-ON, 2008-11). I played a key role writing the first municipal cultural policy for the City of St. Catharines. I taught Creative Process at School of the Toronto Dance Theater for 16 years, practising a pedagogy built on my training as a mediator and facilitator. I have worked as a facilitator and a trainer in consensus-building and group governance.
I have engaged as an ally to the Niagara indigenous community since the 1990s and am a Supporter of the Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park. I’ve worked in the horticultural industry as necessary and survived homelessness for over 3 years in middle life. I raised a daughter. This is my lived experience informing my practice.



2018, 15:00 minutes, colour

Bridging the Twelve

2016, 05:13 minutes, colour, English

Walking the Talk

2016, 05:21 minutes, colour, no audio

Projecting Want

2010, 10:00 minutes, colour, English

David Buchan: man-about-town

1996, 22:00 minutes, colour, English

T.V. Love (a made for tv love story)

1982, 03:40 minutes, colour, English


1981, 20:10 minutes, colour, English

Desire Control

1981, 12:00 minutes, colour, English

Telling Tales

1979, 26:45 minutes, colour, English

Demo Model

1978, 21:19 minutes, colour, English

Critical Writing

FFWD, RWD, and PLAY: Performance Art, Video, and Reflections on...
by Tagny Duff. Caught in the Act: anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
Asserting Our Bodies
by Elizabeth Chitty. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
Talk diminishes work of art
by John Bentley Mays. The Globe and Mail, June 15, 1990.
On Signs & Sex: Visual Evidence "A series of video screenings,...
by Kathy McLeod and Nancy Shaw. Fuse, Fall 1987, v. 11, no. 3.
Performing Miracles
by Linda Genereux. Canadian Art, June Summer 1987, v. 4, no. 2.
Snafus Snip Video Perspective
by Randal McIlroy. Winnipeg Free Press, Mar. 2, 1985.
The Use of the Self to Structure Narrative
by Peggy Gale. Musee d'Art Contemporain, 1984.
Canada (cont.)
by Unknown. Video 84, 1984.
Prime Time Video: Breaking Ground
by Renya Onasick and Peter Lynch. Prime Time Video, 1984. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1984.
Is it prime time yet?
by Robin F White. Prime Time Video, 1984. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1984.
Making Airwaves
by Bruce W Ferguson. Prime Time Video, 1984. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1984.
Artist's Markings in the TV Landscape
by Renee Baert. Prime Time Video, 1984. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1984.
Danceworks 31: what's going on?
by Alina Gildiner. The Globe and Mail, June 24, 1983.
Prime Time Video bears the look of acceptance
by Liam Lacey. The Globe and Mail, Sept. 17, 1982.
Agit.Prop: Walter Philips Gallery / Banff / July 9 to 25
by Leila Surji. Vanguard, Oct. Fall 1982.
A Question of Place 2
by Jennifer Oille. Vanguard, Nov. 1981, v. 10, no. 9.
VIDEO/VIDEO: If this event was a dry run for PAY-TV, one must view...
by Clive Robertson. Fuse, Nov. 1981, v. 5, no. 8 & 9.
Discontinuous Notes on and After a Meeting of Critics, By One of...
by Vera Frenkel. artscanada, Mar. 1981, no. 240.
Vera Frenkel: Interview by Elizabeth Chitty
by Elizabeth Chitty. Vancouver Guide, 1981.
Paul Wong: Prime Cuts
by Julie Healey and Elizabeth Chitty. Video Guide, 1981, v. 4, no. 3.
Vera Frenkel
by Elizabeth Chitty. Video Guide, 1981, v. 4, no. 2.
by Elizabeth Chitty. Video Guide, 1981, v. 4, no. 1.
You Must Remember This
by Elizabeth Chitty. Fuse, Jan. 1980, v. 4, no. 2.
11e Biennale De Paris: Les Canadiens
by Unknown. Parachute, Fall 1980, no. 20.
Video is not television, Performance is not theatre
by Martha Fleming and Douglas Durand. Body Politic, June 1980, no. 64.
Telling Tales
by Jane Ellison. Video Guide, June 1979, v. 2, no. 2.
Télé-performances/ Toronto
by Rober Racine. Parachute, Winter 1978, no. 13.
Brushing up on TV as an art form: Toronto Conference of video...
by Steven Davey. Sunday Star, Sept. 3, 1978.
Colin Campbell
by Elizabeth Chitty. Video Guide, Mar., v. 3, no. 4.