Red Dress Day

Have you ever driven through a neighbourhood park or a wooded area and noticed red dresses mysteriously hanging in the trees? Or perhaps you’ve driven by a local shop or office window, and noticed a red dress hung about in the window and asked yourself, “What is the significance of these? What does it mean?”

In 2010, Metis artist Jaime Black created a public art installation in which she hung empty red dresses in an effort to promote awareness, and commemorate missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit individuals. Appearing in exhibitions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (2019), and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (2014); Jaime has said that through her art installation she hopes to “draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women.”[1].

For Black, each dress is meant to symbolize the life of a missing or murdered Indigenous woman or girl, and the stark and stunning visual representation of the empty, red dress is meant to evoke a visceral reaction in its observers and according to the artist, “to evoke a presence through the marking of absence”[2].

The ongoing support of Jaime’s project prompted the inception of Red Dress Day, which continues annually. On this day, individuals choose to wear red or to display a red dress to commemorate the lives and memory of the missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, and two spirited individuals.

#reddressday #mmiwg #nomorestolensisters