To use storytelling and art in a meaningful way, connecting viewers to the ongoing impacts of gender-based and colonial violence on these lands, and to provoke reflection in a sensitive and trauma-informed manner.
Our project was to increase engagement with public art in the City of North Vancouver, specifically with pieces that were generated from places of trauma or grief. Strength and Remembrance, a cedar pole carved by Squamish artist Sinamkin, honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the women who were killed in the Montreal massacre, and which is also meant to offer wider reflection and communal healing for anyone affected by violence against women. We want to encourage public engagement with the piece and its themes through respectfully inviting the audience to reflect on what the art symbolizes, while also providing a healing space for anyone who needs it.
To do this, a QR code will be placed in front of the piece to offer viewers an opportunity to access more information about the themes of the piece in a thoughtful, and trauma-informed manner. The code, once scanned, will lead viewers to a video or audio introduction to the piece composed of impressions of the work, testimonials, shared experiences about the subject, and the journey of how Strength and Remembrance became a reality. After the introduction, the platform will display content warnings before allowing participants to explore the subject in more depth. The focus is on sharing experiences of the piece and provoking thought through personification, without unnecessarily individualizing and exploiting experiences of violence against women.
While our primary focus is on provoking deeper thought and engagement with the piece itself, we recognized that the location of the pole, just off Lonsdale Ave, may inadvertently provide barriers to access. To encourage city residents to be drawn to the physical location of Strength and Remembrance, we would like to engage elements of the Red Dress Project, begun by Metis interdisciplinary artist Jaime Black. By placing “red dresses” up and down Lonsdale Ave in strategic locations, we hope to draw residents into Stella Jo Dean Plaza. The dresses could be real, made of fabric and hung in windows or doors, or something like stickers or decals placed on bare walls or on the sidewalk. Each dress would also have a QR code, providing GPS coordinates that lead directly to the piece, and generating interest all across the city in the process.
AR: I did not present [at HUBBUB] but it felt good to have our work recognized by local government and other community members. [To enrich future CityStudio experiences,] it might be interesting to have a showcase of previous work to see what kind of innovation is valued by the hubbub team. Read more.