A photo exhibit honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) is on display at the Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) office.
The exhibit will be held for the rest of February and is intended to be part of a long term reconciliation process, explained Shelagh Hagemann, FNMI (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) student success coordinator.
The exhibit is called the REDress Photography Project and was created by Mufty Mathewson as a way to honour the memory of the 1,181 murdered and missing Indigenous women.
A small group of Canadian photographers came together to create images of red dresses in different locations across the country. Some include images at RCMP detachments or abandoned phone booths.
“It is to begin to inform and educate our school community about the historical impacts and how that has led to violence against Indigenous women,” said Hagemann of hosting the exhibit. “And really it’s a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
There’s been several meetings at the office including two FNMI meetings where those who take part are shown the room. Within the room are quite a few pieces, including red dresses, photographs and sage.
For Hagemann, the hope is the exhibit will create a ripple effect of awareness. Mathewson was at Ponoka Secondary Campus late in 2016 speaking about her project as well as to the students at the Ponoka Outreach School.
“Our hope is that we will begin some social justice projects in which our students take on leadership and we begin to change stereotypes,” said Hagemann. “We begin to bring more understanding to the community.
The exhibit is on display in the main foyer of the WCPS office as well as in a room that is open for people to visit. There are also two red dresses hanging on trees outside of the WCPS office.
There is another art exhibition called the RedDress Project by photographer Jaime Black that tackles the same issue. Mathewson was inspired by Black’s installations and wanted to take pictures to continue the effort.