Edmonton photo studio creates project to honour missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls

Project Change was created with the goal of building awareness — and roadside memorials.

Project Change wants to raise money to create memorials across Canada

This is one of the prints offered by Project Change, who have put together these limited edition art pieces to sell for funds to build memorials for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. (Supplied by Shawna Serniak)

An Edmonton photography studio has created a new tribute to memorialize and call attention toward missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

The initiative, called Project Change, was created to honour missing women and girls in Canada, an issue that hasn't been given enough attention, said project creator Shawna Serniak.

The project was created last year, Serniak said, with the goal of building awareness — and roadside memorials.

"As a Métis woman, I feel that in Canada here there's a high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women and children, as well as men," said Serniak, founder of Every Woman Empowered, a local organization that offers workshops, conferences and a community based on self-development.

"We're not seeing enough being done to start to address this concern, as well as do something as a society about it to make sure that we can stop the numbers from growing."

Serniak was interviewed on CBC's Edmonton AM earlier this week.

Serniak teamed up on this project with local studio Visions of Heaphen Photography and their artist, Heather Fryer. The project offers a series of limited edition prints that are being sold to raise funds for a memorial plaque program.

The prints can be found at the Old Strathcona Arts Emporium in central Edmonton.

The prints are a composite mixing digital art and photographs, showing characters with a sense of sorrow and loss, while showing they're strong and proud as well, said studio co-owner Steve Fryer.

"I can't imagine losing somebody the way some of these people have lost their children," Steve Fryer said.

Once enough money is raised, Serniak said her project will work with another charity to build the actual monuments for roadside or park memorials.

She said they also want to work with affected families about where they would like the memorials to be placed.

Serniak said she expects the project will take a few years to come to fruition, and that she wants to expand this plan to see more memorials built across the country after starting in Alberta.