Walking with Our Sisters is a memorial exhibit commemorating the missing and murdered Aboriginal and Metis Women of Canada and the United States. The Carleton University Art Gallery provokes an array of emotions as it calls to the alarming history of Canada with regards to the Indigenous women and children. The exhibition presents approximately eighteen hundred vamps prepared by the victims’ families and countless advocates. The Gallery elicits awareness and powerful heartbreaking emotions through its beautiful designs, graceful approach, haunting music, and physical arrangements.
Walking with Our Sisters is certainly a remarkable event. The exhibit awakens many emotions, whether pleasant or unpleasant, through its beautiful designs; these designs feature symbols, quotations, and patterns. Each vamp has a unique symbol on it, representing the victim’s personality. Some portrayed strawberries, bear paws, dream catchers, and sunflowers. Accordingly, each one represents a unique soul memorialized by their loved ones. The beautiful beading in these symbols effectively allow the guest to feel the presence of the women being commemorated.
Additionally, the quotes on the vamps are tremendously powerful; one of the vamps has a quote that reads, “her mom would hold the empty plate to her lips, and pray a silent prayer for her daughter’s return. ” Touring the exhibit and reading such powerful words allows the visitor to feel the true loss of these women. Throughout the exhibit, the repetition of religious symbols portray faithfulness of the families of these victims. Although being witness to such loss is disheartening, it is a blessing to be a part of the families’ undying faith and hope.
The intricate designs of these vamps play a large role in the success of the event through the emotions they evoke. Moreover, the exhibit effectively demonstrates awareness and sympathy through its graceful and respectful execution. Before entering the exhibit, visitors are asked to remove their footwear due to the sacredness of the project. Taking off one’s footwear is mandatory in homes, and places of worship. Therefore, requiring the removal of footwear demonstrates both the dignity and intimacy of the exhibit.
It also gives the visitor the feeling hat he/she is actually visiting an individual’s memorial, and not just a gallery event. While walking through the gallery in silence, the guests are encouraged to acknowledge and focus on the artwork that surrounds them. The exhibit provides a calm and peaceful atmosphere, helping the guest realize and understand the disappearances of these beloved women. Contrary to the quick pace of everyday, the exhibit enforces a slow, gracious experience. It offers its guests the opportunity to thoroughly observe the intricate aboriginal artwork.
Requiring such graciousness and respectfulness allows the visitor to fully comprehend both the pain and hope within this issue. Furthermore, Walking with Our Sisters fulfills one of the leading components to an effective event: music. The slow melodies allow for slow pace, relaxed state of mind, and a settled mood. For Indigenous people, music is an essential component in their daily lives and spiritual beliefs. Overall, the Indigenous people’s music is mostly vocal, with drums, rattles, and flutes as vital instruments (Hoefnagels, 2011).
The exhibit provides this description of music driving the guest to enjoy the exhibit at a peaceful speed. Immediately after entering the Gallery, the melody offers a calm atmosphere with a beautifully played flute. The relaxing and calm music allows for clarity in the visitor’s mind, which yields a clearer more focused message regarding the missing and murdered women. Subtly, the music creates a sombre aura within the gallery. This aura created by the humming music grants the guest a chance to truly feel the pain and anguish caused by these murders and disappearances.
Therefore, the music helps to evoke powerful emotions and communicates a clear message concerning the missing women. Finally, the physical and structural arrangements of the event also play a great role in the harmony of the project. As the guests walk into the exhibit, they witness, on their right, a beautifully sad arrangement of small moccasins. Eight hundred tiny vamps are made to commemorate the children of residential schools. This arrangement causes the visitor to remember the heartbreaking history of Canada concerning aboriginal children.
The rest of the vamps are arranged in a U-shape that circles the whole exhibit. Throughout the exhibit, the guests can see that the physical path symbolizes the long and grieving journey that the families face while trying to deal with the missing and murdered women’s cases. While walking through the exhibit, brown bags reading the phrase, “tear bags” are placed with tissue boxes next to them. The exhibit is aware of the effect the moccasins have on some people, and thought to provide a small gesture of support.
To that end, the exhibit’s physical arrangement helps to communicate its message, and plays an integral role in producing such a remarkable event. Consequently, Walking with Our Sisters is a memorable and meaningful event portraying the disappearance of the many aboriginal women. The exhibit provides awareness through the intricate designs illustrated by the symbols, quotations, and patterns. The project evokes many emotions through respectful approach in the action of taking of the footwear, silence, and slow pace. Music is essential due to the effect it has on the guests.
The music leads to a slow pace, relaxed mind, and a sombre atmosphere, allowing the message to be heard. The perfect arrangements are very effective due to the awareness they bring, seen through the arranged corner for the residential school children, the U-shape path, and the tear bags. Therefore, the exhibit was an exceptional event. The Carleton University Art Gallery could not have used its space in a more influential approach due to the fact that the exhibit presents an issue that needs to be heard by the general public.