Editorial: Amplifying marginalized voices: Jamie Black’s REDress Project comes to campus
With red dresses hanging all throughout campus, it’s hard to bypass the ongoing “REDress Project.” Students in “Introduction to the Creativity, Arts, and Social Transformation,” led by Prof. Toni Shapiro-Phim (CAST), have partnered up with artist Jaime Black in order to set up this art exhibit. Commenting on the “more than 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women” in North America, CAST has worked to recreate Black’s project to help illustrate this ongoing tragedy.
On the Women’s Studies Research Center website, it states that “The photographs, video and poems on display tell stories alongside empty red dresses … their absence of bodies, allude to the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have been missing or murdered across North America.” Statistics illustrate the elevated numbers of targeted Indigenous women, like how murder rates are 10 times higher than all other ethnicities and how more than 80% of Indigenous women have experienced some form of violence. This board recognizes the importance of spotlighting the cases of these missing and murdered women and urges readers to further educate themselves and help amplify these voices.
Besides the actual exhibit, which will run until Feb. 25, WSRC and CAST sponsored Black’s virtual artist lecture on Nov. 9 where she discussed her exhibition “between us,” showcased in the Kniznick Gallery, and her “REDress Project.” As this was an effective space to learn about the dire situation in North America, we would like to thank everyone involved in hosting this talk. In order for these departments to continue hosting these types of events, we would also like to encourage students to attend these departments’ future lectures in order to show support and help garner attention.
The next upcoming WSRC event co-sponsored by CAST and the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts will be held on Jan. 24, where Dr. Polly O. Walker will navigate a book talk about Louis Erdrich’s “The Round House.” As the story follows a family on an Ojibwa reservation and chronicles the assault of Indigenous women, this talk would be the perfect opportunity for those who missed Black’s artist lecture. There will also be time to visit Black’s “between us” exhibit before and after the event. This board recommends students to mark these events in their calendars.
Lastly, we would like to thank the University for holding space for such important art. Displaying the “REDress Project” takes a big step forward in amplifying the voices that need to be heard.