This week, an aboriginal storytelling festival in Regina is forcing people to stop to think, and one of the most controversial exhibits is by an Ontario artist.
Tracey-Mae Chambers has taken more than 1,800 photos that resemble crime scenes that people are just happening upon.
Chambers said she is seeking to disturb and outrage people with images of aboriginal women’s bodies discarded in different locations.
The idea for the exhibit, called “mine is but a tear in the river,” was born out of her own anger over how these women are seen as lesser-than because of their lifestyles.
“This is from someone’s mouth, ‘well aren’t they, you know, prostitutes?’” she said. “As if that was less, the human life, the worth of that life was less than another human being.”
She uses herself as the subject in most of her photos, but they’re meant to represent murdered and missing indigenous women.
Chambers said the images of the bodies of aboriginal women laying in the open are meant to be disturbing but they’re also meant to open people’s eyes.
The inspiration came from her wondering, “How can I express that to me, this is what I see? I see that violence, I see that this is the reality. The reality isn’t always flowers.”
Chambers said the reality of missing and murdered women needs to be faced head on.
“I understand that it’s very visceral and it’s very uncomfortable… but sometimes a little discomfort is necessary.”
Some of the photos have been set up in different venues all over Regina.
The Sakewewak Storytelling Festival has been going on for more than a decade.
This year’s events started on Wednesday, continuing in Friday and Saturday.
They’ve covered all types of art in the events: from filmmaking; to music; to visual exhibits.