TRU prepares to REDress

A visiting installation is bringing attention to gendered and racialized violence. PHOTO BY JAIME BLACK

Cory Hope, Arts and Entertainment Editor  Ω

Students and faculty of TRU will soon notice the presence of red dresses hanging in various locations around campus.

The issue being addressed is widespread, just as the art installation will be.

Silently blowing in the wind as people walk by, the dresses are part of an exhibit that addresses gendered and racialized violence.

Winnipeg-based artist Jaime Black will be bringing her REDress project to TRU from Oct. 4 to 7 to help “provide opportunities for conversation about the serious impact of… gendered and racialized violence on all peoples of Canada.”

Black said she hopes “to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.”

REDress will also be featured at the Interior Indian Friendship Society, the T’kemlups Indian Band and the Kamloops Art Gallery.

The project focuses on “the over 600 missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada,” and includes many different events.

A banquet dinner will take place Oct 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the T’Kemlups Indian Band Sk’lep School Gymnasium.

This will be followed by a candlelight vigil.

Two videos will also be presented. “Building a Highway of Hope” will play Oct. 5 at TRU’s House 5 and will feature a talk with director Jessica Yee.

“Finding Dawn” will play Oct. 6 at the Irvine K. Barber Centre at 6:30 p.m.  It will be followed by a panel discussion.

An artist talk takes place Oct. 7 at 12 noon in the Art Gallery in Old Main.

Tours of the installation will be offered at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. throughout the exhibit’s run and will be guided by Jaime Black.

These leave from the steps of the Brown Family House of Learning.

All events are free and open to the public.

Donations of red dresses for the project can be made through T’kemlups Indian Band at #200- 355 Yellowhead Hwy., the Interior Indian Friendship society at 125 Palm St., or the Kamloops Art Gallery at 465 Victoria St.

The goal is to collect over 600 red dresses to put on display – one for every missing or murdered Aboriginal woman.

Jaime Black is originally from Thunder Bay but currently resides in Winnipeg, where she is an artist and art educator.

In an interview with Indigenous Foundations at UBC she states that her REDress project was partially inspired by her work as a teacher in Opaskawayak Cree Nation, a place also known as The Pas.

This is “where Helen Betty Osborne was brutally murdered while walking home one night by two young men who were not charged or sentenced until years later.”

She said she is also inspired by “a group of 300 women in Colombia who had the courage to create a moving four-hour performance piece to protest their missing and murdered loved ones in the main square in Bogota.”

“A female Aboriginal scholar at a Canadian Studies conference in Germany standing up to remind everyone of Canada’s colonial past and present,” she said was also an inspiration.
Anyone wanting more information on the REDress project can look up REDress’ Facebook page, or follow it on Twitter at @REDressKam.