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'REDress Project' brings attention to violent crimes against Indigenous women

Dresses hang along Philosopher's Walk at U of T as part of the REDress Project, March 20, 2017. CITYNEWS/Audra Brown

Dozens of red dresses are hanging, almost ghost-like, from tree branches around the University of Toronto.

The dresses are part of an art installation by Winnipeg-based Metis artist Jaime Black.

Black created the ‘REDress Project’ to bring attention to, and start conversation about, the issue of violent crimes against Indigenous women.

Each dress hangs as a vivid reminder of the estimated 12,000 Indigenous women missing or murdered across the country.

Red dresses blowing in the wind.

A post shared by Nico Mara-McKay (@plutopsyche) on

Since 2010, Black has displayed hundreds of red dresses at locations right across the country, but the installation at U of T’s Philosopher’s Walk is the largest she’s ever done.

In 2016, the federal government launched an independent national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The commission is attempting to “determine the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience, and why they face greater vulnerability to violence, by looking for patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur.”

Black said she hopes the dresses serve as a reminder that there is still much work to be done to help these women and children.