The Silent Cries of Women Around the World
With the vibrant color of life and death, women around the world are uniting through Red Dress Projects. For centuries, women across the globe have been shoved to the margins, degraded, put down, thought of as less capable, unequal, not worth an education or a voice, beaten, and in drastic situations murdered. Jamie Black and Kirste Macleod use their red dress art to speak out. Though silent, these gowns speak volumes—women have worth, and those who were robbed life will not be forgotten.
Jamie Black’s REDress Project
In 2009, Jamie Black began her call to action. Across Canada, empty dresses hang in public places for the 1000 plus missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. This installation art project has started the conversation between those who knew nothing of the violence that occurs and those who have lost someone. It is an opportunity to create change. Jamie Black, the artist, is using her art platform to give those robbed a voice a chance to speak. And in this case, the silence is louder than words. Black said, “The idea of the dresses is to get people learning about what’s going on…, to get active and change how [people] relate to [one another] and break down these barriers created by racism and colonialism.” Click here for more on the Indigenous Missing Women Red Dress Project.
“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.”
Macleod’s Embroidered Red Dress
Across the ocean, Kirstie Macleod from Somerset England, sent burgundy, silk, swatches around the world. For twelve years, seventy-three pieces of fabric traveled through twenty-eight countries and into the hands of 239 women and five men. Kirstie encouraged those embroidering to tell a personal story, and they did. Their art reflects personal identity, culture, and tradition.
“I raise my voice–not so…I can shout, but so those without a voice can be heard,”Malala Yousafzai
28 Countries of Women Represented in this Red Dress
- Dr Congo
- South Africa
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
All Ships Rise With the Tide
Not only as the project given some women a chance to tell their story, but it has also given them a trade to support themselves and earn a consistent living. Even though, those contributing ranged from first-time artists to experienced upscale professionals, the 6.2 kg of silk is a masterpiece. Millions of stitches and hundreds of lives are poured into that single dress—a symbol of power, strength, beauty, and individuality. The dress will be traveling to many galleries around the world. Kirstie hopes to display the dress in the countries of those who contributed alongside some of their own work.
I can’t think of anything more memorable than the classic symbol of red, crimson, scarlet, or burgundy. The colors of sacrifice, the price women pay to carry on the human race, the symbol of life taken, and the symbol of life given. Through exquisite, red gowns the collective voice of women is heard— “Here I am. Here they were. Remember us, hear us, see us!
“Sisterhood is the underlying force behind feminism and even unites women who don’t know one another. It’s about a nurturing type of love and empathy for each person’s life experience,”