Thunder Bay·Up North

REDress exhibit speaks of missing, murdered indigenous women

The issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is on display this week at Confederation College.
Winnipeg artist Jaime Black says "having dresses outdoors ... puts them in elements [that] animate the dresses and allows them to dance, and that brings back a vitality that's missing." (Cathy Alex/CBC)
The issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is on display this week at Confederation College.

Winnipeg artist Jaime Black has hung about 100 red dresses around the campus, both indoors and out, as part of The REDress Project, which focuses on the issue of missing or murdered aboriginal women across Canada.

Métis artist Jaime Black has hung about 100 red dress around Confederation College's campus, both indoors and out. Black says she hopes her exhibit can promote discussions around racism and violence. (Cathy Alex/CBC)
Black said the dresses are empty to represent death and absence. She chose the colour red because it symbolizes many different things.

“It's the colour of life blood. It's the colour of love, but it's also the colour of spilled blood. So it has connotations of both the positive and the negative aspects of being an aboriginal woman in Canada.”

Black said she hopes her exhibit can promote discussions around racism and violence.

"I feel like this work is almost spiritual in nature because I feel it's calling the spirits, possibly, of these women back to a place where they can tell their story, where their stories can be told,” Black continued.

“Having dresses outdoors really puts them in, I think, a sacred space where they can interact with the weather and the wind. Those elements animate the dresses and allows them to dance, and that brings back a vitality that's missing.  It really does have a haunting effect."

The REDress Project will remain at Confederation College until March 11.