Portraits of MMIW part of street art project in Regina, Toronto
Ron Wild started his Missing and Murdered street art project last spring
Faces of missing and murdered indigenous women are popping up on vacant buildings in Regina and Toronto.
The portraits are part of a global art project called Inside Out started by French street artist JR.
People from all over the world send JR portraits that he prints into pasteable posters to be publicly displayed. The idea is to turn personal identity into art to convey a message or make a statement.
Ron Wild, an artist originally from Regina now working and living in Toronto, wanted to bring attention to a Canada-wide issue – missing and murdered indigenous women.
"It was just something that has always bothered me. There are hundreds, 1,200 or more, I'm sure there are way more, that have gone missing," Wild said.
He registered his project, Missing & Murdered, with Inside Out and plastered his first poster last spring. He said the federal election campaign inspired him to add more.
"People were trying to make this a non-issue and that started to really bother me and I knew of JR's initiative, where he was doing these portrait posters all over the world for different causes, and it just seemed like a good match of a real need we have in Canada," said Wild.
Wild said his biggest challenge is finding the right location for the posters. The portraits often get covered up by other street art or removed from the buildings but Wild said it doesn't discourage him from adding more.
"It's very rewarding for me to put the brush in the glue and to start putting it up, knowing that this possibly could lead to some good," Wild said.
He added he hopes other people or artists across the country will join him in bringing awareness to missing and murdered indigenous women by installing portraits in their home towns.
"This is a person. A real person and she is somewhere or somebody knows what has happened to her," Wild said.
"By putting it out on the street, where she's gone missing, or where people are, who might know what has happened to her, it just seems like a natural thing to do."
With files from CBC's The Afternoon Edition and Eman Bare