Red Dresses Hang at U of T Symbolize Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Winnipeg artist takes The REDress Project to U of T

Seven years ago, artist Jaime Black founded The REDress Project, an art installation that involves hanging red dresses in public spaces throughout Canada as a response to Canada’s 1200-plus missing and murdered Indigenous women.

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Black is a Metis multidisciplinary artist from Winnipeg. According to her artist statement, Black’s intent behind this installation is to “draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.”

Now, thanks to Black and the University of Toronto’s Women and Gender Studies Institute, U of T’s Philosopher’s Walk is flooded with a mass of hanging red dresses that turn the historical landscape at St. George Campus into an eerie and striking reminder.

Black explained that she chose Philosopher’s Walk specifically because of its Indigenous history. A creek once ran where the walkway is located now.

“The creek used to be a gathering and fishing space for Indigenous people,” she explained in a news release. “The flow and reality of Indigenous culture is literally paved over. I think that’s a metaphor.”

The exhibit features over a hundred red dresses that were donated by U of T students and will run until March 23rd.

Feature photo via Facebook.