Red dresses at U of S a reminder of missing and murdered women

Several red dresses are hanging in spot at the University of Saskatchewan this week to remind people of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. It's an art project by Winnipeg artist Jaime Black.

A haunting exhibit of empty red dresses opens at the U of S today.

It's an eerie, haunting reminder of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

A hundred and thirty red dresses, hanging on lines at the University of Saskatchewan. 

It's an art project by Winnipeg artist Jaime Black.

"You can walk by the dresses and feel them next to you," Black says. "It feels as though someone's there and then you look and it's just an empty garment of clothing."

Black has been collecting the dresses over time, and some people have donated them. 

"Red has always been a really powerful colour for me personally. I think it's a sacred colour. It's the colour of our life blood." Black says many people also associate the colour with passion and sexuality. "A woman's sexuality can be very powerful, but it can also put her in a position of being vulnerable."

Black says she wants to get people talking about the racial and gender elements of violence.

She says the forces of displacement Aboriginal peoples experienced during colonization "are still at work right now" when it comes to violence against Indigenous women.

Some family members of missing or murdered women have come to the events. Black says they have powerful reactions to the empty dresses. She says approximately 200 hundred people a day have come to talk to her while she has been installing the exhibit.

The dresses are on display at several buildings, as well at the Bowl.