The University of Alberta, Canada, has played host to an art installation hoping to draw attention to violence against women. Visual artist Jamie Black is behind the campaign, which features red dresses hung around the campus to highlight the problem of violence against Aboriginal women.
Black has been preparing for this project for two years, and has hung over a hundred dresses on the site. She and the university have collected the dresses through donations. She said she hopes that “this gets people thinking about and gives them access to a problem and gives them access to educating themselves about it and hopefully changing the way they think about it”. There are a variety of dresses on display, representing all ages and the different roles that women play within the community and family life.
As of 2006, there were around 1,172,000 Aboriginal peoples in Canada. One of the organisers of the installation, Pippa Feinstein noted that “Aboriginal women are five times more likely to die as a result of violence”, and that whilst there has been a lot of local media coverage of violence against women, it mainly focussed on the sex trade and not touched on wider issues and contexts.
Various events have been held alongside the installation, including a tour provided by Black and a panel discussion on the contemporary realities facing Aboriginal women in Canada. More details can be found here.