The crisis surrounding murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, trans, and queer community members continues, with thousands of documented cases in both Canada and the U.S.
The Gardiner presents the Canadian premiere of artist Cannupa Hanska Luger’s Every One, a monumental social sculpture commemorating victims of the crisis. Every One visualizes the data behind the MMIWQT crisis, transforming large and abstract numbers into a representation of individual lived experiences. Responding to data collected by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Luger created a call to action video shared through social media that invited communities across the United States and Canada to make 2-inch clay beads, each one representing a unique person who has been lost. Hundreds of participants held workshops, both with Luger and on their own, making the beads in studios, community centres, universities, and private homes. These experiences generated over 4,000 beads, as well as numerous conversations, stories, and occasions for healing through clay.
Every One references and stands in solidarity with the photograph Sister by Kali Spitzer. Spitzer explores the individual stories behind the MMIWQT crisis through portraiture and self-representation. She works in the medium of tintypes, a photographic process popular in the 1860s and 1870s, particularly with settlers in the Canadian and American West. Spitzer reclaims this process, adapting it to create images of contemporary Indigenous survivance.
Together, Every One and Sister encourage us to recognize and honour the stories embedded in the MMIWQT crisis, and to contemplate our own responsibilities and relationships to it.