National Museum of the American Indian Presents “The REDress Project” To Raise Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The REDress Project installation at the University of Winnipeg. Photo by Sarah Crawley.

Published February 23, 2019

Museum Will Host a Symposium March 21

WASHINGTON — The National Museum of the American Indian will present, for the first time in the U.S., “The REDress Project” by Métis artist Jaime Black. The outdoor art installation of empty red dresses centers on the issue of missing or murdered Indigenous women. Black hopes to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Native women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence. In her artwork, Black attempts to create a dialogue around social and political issues, especially through an exploration of the body and the land as contested sites of historical and cultural knowledge. This special installation will be on view March 1–31 to commemorate Women’s History Month. Media are invited to an open house with Machel Monenerkit, deputy director of the museum, March 6 at 10 a.m.

“The National Museum of the American Indian highlights traditional and contemporary Native artists and looks to address topics in contemporary Native communities,” Monenerkit said. “On this occasion, the museum is showcasing ‘The REDress Project’ by Métis artist Jamie Black who centers her artwork on the issue of missing or murdered Indigenous women. Through the installation of Black’s work, our museum brings wider attention to the issue.”

Several red dresses will be displayed along the Riverwalk located in the museum’s Native landscape. These dresses have been collected through community donation and installed at several Canadian galleries, museums and universities since 2011.

“Black’s project focuses on the missing women in Canada, but sadly this issue transcends borders and affects Indigenous women throughout the Americas,” Monenerkit said. “Art transforms, and definitely transcends, and moves our perspectives of how we face a tragedy. We hope the public takes the opportunity to see, for the first time in the United States, ‘The REDress Project’ at our museum in Washington, D.C.”

Black will also participate with other Native artists, activists and scholars in the symposium “Safety for Our Sisters: Ending Violence Against Native Women” March 21. During the program, the participants will share their stories and engage in important conversations about violence against Indigenous women.

Black is a Métis multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg, Canada. She studied English literature at the University of Manitoba and has an education degree from The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. She is currently a mentee with Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art. She is particularly interested in feminism, Aboriginal social justice and the possibilities for articulating linkages between and around these movements.

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