NATIONAL MMIWG INQUIRY

Sharing truth with art at inquiry into missing, murdered Indigenous women

Archivist curating dozens of paintings, poems and other artwork contributed during national inquiry

As survivors and loved ones of victims recount memories of loss, abuse and resilience during the final stretch of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls this week in B.C., others are choosing to depict their experiences through contributed artwork.

Petra Turcotte is the senior archivist tasked with curating dozens of paintings, poems, songs and other artwork contributed by Indigenous people during the past year as the inquiry toured through 15 communities across the country.

As the inquiry comes to a close in Richmond this week, Turcotte told Black Press Media that each piece of artwork displays experiences that for many are hard to put into words.

READ MORE: Final leg of national missing women inquiry begins in B.C.

“To tell a stranger your truth is very challenging, and a lot of people can’t do that,” she said. “This offers a way for people to express their truth in a very safe and secure environment, yet be able to share with the nation and with the people… and contribute to that.”

A thousand women and allies have spoken on the racism, violence and discrimination they’ve faced during community hearings across the country, heard by Commissioners who will take these stories and determine recommendations to the federal government in a detailed report in the New Year.

WATCH: Youth group contributes song to inquiry on Highway of Tears

The dozens of pieces collected – some dropped off during community hearings and others mailed to the headquarters in Manitoba – will accompany the testimony from survivors and families of victims who wished to share their truths throughout the inquiry.

“I think Indigenous art in particular has a huge role in how it can translate to culture and traditional knowledge,” Turcotte said, adding it’s often used as a form of resistance and a way of bringing awareness of historical truth.

With the federal government yet to decide if the national inquiry will get an extension, Turcotte said the organizers will soon determine what happens with the contributed pieces.

Turcotte said they’ll be turned into a legacy exhibit of some kind, and hopes the pieces will be used for both outreach and education.

“A lot of youth engage better through education and art,” Turcotte said.

“It helps people become aware of the things going on in their own backyards.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Miniature horses visit Glacier View residents

Glacier View Lodge residents had a couple of special visitors on Wednesday… Continue reading

Annual women’s march in Courtenay Saturday

The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on Jan. 21, 2017, to… Continue reading

Portables arrive for students on Hornby Island

Five portable classrooms have officially arrived on Hornby Island this week in… Continue reading

Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Rideout Construction will pay $91,200 in lieu of 24 parking stalls

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Long-term care facility coming to Courtenay

Golden Life Management Corp. successful proponent

Teen with diabetes told ‘no food’ on B.C. Transit bus

B. C. Transit apologizes, saying it will look into food and drink policy

Condo rental bans on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after knee injury

Pettersson said he wasn’t feeling any pain during Wednesday’s skate

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

Most Read