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  • An art project representing missing and murdered Indigenous women at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

    An art project representing missing and murdered Indigenous women at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. | Photo: REDress Project

Published 26 April 2019

The color red signifies blood as a source of energy and power, but also a representation of violence and "the loss of that sacred lifeblood  through violence."

Canada's Orillia Museum of Art and History is launching an art installation that will showcase the country's disturbing history of inaction regarding murdered and missing Indigenous women. 

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The REDress Project Installation, organized by Dawn Ireland, will run from April 29 to May 10 and aims to "serve as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us."

Inspiration was drawn by the installations originator and Metis artist, Jamie Black, from her experiences as a teacher in the Opaskawayak Cree Nation. The former educator recalled from in the area, the murder of Helen Betty Osborne which took place as she was on her way home. The two young men responsible for the crime did not face any charges or sentencing for several years.

Black also credited a four-hour protest piece in Bogota, Colombia, performed by a group of 300 women, denouncing the murders and disappearances of their loved ones.

The REDress project consists of other installations and performances throughout North America. Last week, a demonstration at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, United States was held. Forty red dresses were hung on trees and waterfalls and remain outside all day in all types of weather. 

Black said that she hangs "up empty red dresses in public spaces so that people can connect to the absence of these women, but also to the power and presence of the women through the red dress."

The color red signifies blood as a source of energy and power, but also a representation of violence and "the loss of that sacred lifeblood  through violence."

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