'It isn't pretty. It isn't sweet. It isn't kind': artist's graphic photos show 'discarded' indigenous women
Ontario artist, Tracey-Mae Chambers, in town to discuss her latest work ‘Mine is but a tear in a river'
Bloody clothing. A woman's body. Gaping wounds and discarded shopping carts.
It looks like a crime scene, but it's an art exhibit for Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women.
Ontario artist Tracey-Mae Chambers is in Winnipeg displaying a portion of her exhibit 'Mine is but a tear in a river'.
It's a collection of graphic photos that are staged to look like places where a crime has occurred - and there's one for each of the 1,187 missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada.
"My connection first and foremost is to violence against women...then it became clear over time that it was statistically more probable, if you a were a First Nations or a marginalized woman, to be a victim of violence," said Chambers.
"Everywhere from Parliament Hill to some of the major churches that were players within the residential school system in Canada," said Chambers.
The photos are printed on transparent sheets so that they can be viewed from either side. They are hung with red thread, and displayed amongst the items of clothing.
"I wanted the viewer to be able to see it no matter which way they are looking. So when they walk into a room they are completely engulfed by not just the photos, but by the issue itself,"
Chambers' work is meant to draw awareness to the violence against aboriginal women she feels have been "discarded."
The exhibit is graphic and is meant to invoke a visceral response.
"I had to go that far because no one else does," said Chambers, who admits that some people are initially offended by the photos.
"I wanted to confront it for what it is. It isn't pretty. It isn't sweet. It isn't kind," she said.
Chambers is only displaying a portion of the photos in advance of the debut of the entire exhibit in Ottawa later this summer.
The photos are the first of a three-part installation. They, and the altered clothing, represent what has happened to indigenous women physically. The next two parts will address why it happened and how society should move forward, she said.
Chambers will be giving a talk Friday evening at the Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre on Main Street, where her work will be displayed until April.
Some of the installation will also be displayed in the lobby of the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film on Saturday to coincide with a Stolen Sisters event.