In solidarity with Anishinabek people of Canada I participating in the REDress project, an annual art installation created by Winnipeg born artist Jamie Black, addressing violence against Indigenous women. On Oct the 4th across Canada red dresses were hung to raise awareness and speak out on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“The image itself can speak to a lot of people,” she said. “If they aren’t aware of the issue they are often shocked and surprised that it’s happening in Canada because there is a lot of under education and miss-education about indigenous issues here.” – Jamie Black
I was surprised, since returning to London, by the lack of international awareness of the historical and present day struggle of Indigenous people in Canada and the United States. I began to share my story of walking 2,270km from Winnipeg to Ottawa for MMIW and children in care with people in London. The shock and surprise I have been received with made me realize that I have a responsibility to bring awareness. As soon as I found out about the REDress project I began to organize an event giving myself a deadline of just under two weeks to prepare.
The installation and event took place at the Garden Centre, a squatted social centre/gallery in Camden, on the evening of Oct 11th. I prepared a presentation on MMIW, residential schools, the 60’s 70’s scoop, and ect. and invited Deana Shunkaha Wanagiwin from Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke (Pine Ridge Reservation), a powerful voice on indigenous rights, to speak about her experiences. Deana Shunkaha Wanagiwin was accompanied by Ant Hatcher and they shared through story telling and performance.
I completed the mural on both walls of the exhibition space in four solid days. This was a new experience for me because I have never done a mural before. I had once “assistant” and it was quiet the experience learning to direct someone while I was figuring out what to do myself. I used paint, wheat paste, aluminium foil, and images of the tar sand and bitumen in Alberta. I was drawing a line connecting the abuse of native women with the abuse of the land.