Elizabeth Chitty (1953-) is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance, installation, video, sound, photography, and dance. She was born in St. Catharines, Ontario and completed an Honours B.A. in Fine Art, Modern Dance Major at York University in 1975. During her early career in the late 70s and early 80s, she quickly became a central figure in the Toronto and Vancouver performance art and New Dance scenes and was associated with artist-run centres 15 Dance Lab, A Space, and Art Metropole. Works created during this period, such as Mover (1975), Drop (1976), and Lap (1977) expanded the vocabulary of dance to explore force and linear movement, often to the point of emotional risk and violence. Using the movement of digital images, sound, and the body, Chitty addressed themes of information technology, media deconstruction, the grammar and syntax of performance, and feminism's relationship with sexual agency. She also experimented with video, producing single-channel video artworks (Telling Tales ) as well as incorporating the use of both closed circuit and pre-recorded video in her performance works (History, Colour TV & You ). In the late 80s she shifted her focus from staged, interdisciplinary solo performances to the creation of large-scale multimedia spectacles such as Moral/Passion (1985) and landscape-based installations such as Lake (1990). Inspired by her own Buddhist practice, many of her works have explored the relationship between the body and consciousness to question how we perceive the world, our thoughts, and emotions (Nature of the Body ). In 1988, Chitty moved back to the Niagara Peninsula, where she has resided ever since. At this time, she began her long-standing involvement with Indigenous communities in the region and assisted with the development of the local community justice program, Winds of Change Women’s Drum Group. The community-based strategies and walking projects that have appeared in Chitty's artistic works since the 90s (Progress of the Body , Earth's Flesh , Daylighting , Confluence Field Trips , The Grass is Still Green ) are a reflection of her reconciliatory work, as she considers water and its management, concepts of governance and ownership of public space, traditional territory, embodied knowledge, displacement, and historical and contemporary marginalized space and narratives.
In addition to her artistic practice, Chitty has also held roles as an arts administrator, educator, editor, and producer. From 1976-1978, she was the editor for Spill, a magazine published by 15 Dance Lab about the New Dance movement. She was the Chair of Trinity Square Video (1982), Managing Director of the Association of National Non-profit Artist-run Centres (1982-1984), Executive Director of St. Catharines and Area Arts Council (2004-2008), and Executive Director of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, Ontario Chapter (2008-2011). From 1991-2007, Chitty taught Creative Process at the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre. She was a video/media curator for Western Front (1980-1981) and went on to found Cultural Desire Projects (1985-1990) which produced major works by Chitty, Randy & Berenicci, Tanya Mars, and Vera Frenkel.
Chitty has performed and exhibited her work widely across Canada and also internationally in the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. Her video artworks Demo Model (1978), Telling Tales (1979), Desire Control (1981) and Dogmachine (1981), and T.V.Love (1982) are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. In 2017, her exhibition The Grass is Still Green was awarded "Exhibit of the Year" at the Ontario Association of Art Galleries' annual awards gala.