Red Dress

On October 4, 2016 Cardinal Carter Catholic High School in Aurora honoured missing and murdered women across Canada with a “red dress display,” in its cafeteria, based on the work of Jamie Black, a Metis multidisciplinary artist in Winnipeg.

Black, in her artwork attempts to create a dialogue around social and political events and issues, through provocation or creating space for reflection. She is particularly interested in feminism and Aboriginal social justice, and the possibilities for articulating linkages between, and around these movements.

Some Aboriginals believe that red is the only colour spirits can see. The hauntingly empty red dresses hang in public places calling back these women’s spirits to allow them a chance to have their voices heard through family members and community.

Many students created the red dress display at the school including members of Cardinal Carter’s Arts Council, along with the school’s Contemporary Aboriginal Voices English Classes.

“Those of us who created the cafeteria display hoped that when students saw the dresses they would be reminded of the women who are supposed to be in them, but are not,” said Tatyana Dachuck, Teacher.

Across the county on October 4, Sister in Spirit Vigils are held to honour the hundreds of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.