Colour has lengthy been used to indicate social and political standing and to convey different vital messages with out saying a phrase. Through the Byzantine period, solely royals might put on the colour purple, which represented rarity, piety, magic, and thriller. Within the Center Ages, crimson symbolized the blood of Christ and was worn by kings to indicate their God-given proper to rule. In response to Hannah Craggs, senior coloration editor at trend-forecasting consultancy WGSN, “All through historical past, coloration has been used as a software of self-expression and peaceable protest.”
In current day phrases, we solely want to have a look at the primary Girls’s March in January 2017, whereby hundreds of thousands of ladies and their allies banded collectively globally carrying pink pussyhats as a visual image of protest to the Trump presidency. On the seventy fifth Golden Globe Awards in 2018, the colour black was strategically worn by feminine actors to assist the #TimesUp motion. In 2019, girls politicians wore white to the State of the Union as a approach to honor suffragists, whereas additionally making a pointed assertion in regards to the landmark variety of girls elected to the US Congress. And right this moment, the colour purple, utilized by Alice Walker and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie of their novels, The Colour Purple and Purple Hibiscus, is used to indicate and sign a brand new awakening and rebirth of their characters.
In final week’s UoF weblog entitled Threads of Unity, we mentioned Kirstie Macleod’s Crimson Gown Challenge, a crimson costume that took 14 years to finish and was stitched collectively by the fingers of 380 embroidery artisans, throughout 51 international locations.
In the present day, we are going to deal with the REDress Challenge, Nationwide Ribbon Skirt Day and the Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge, initiatives that draw consideration to the lacking and murdered Indigenous girls (MMIW) epidemic in the US and Canada.
The REDress Challenge
Video of The REDress Challenge on the Nationwide Museum of the American Indian. (Video Credit score: YouTube, Smithsonian NMAI)
Image a panorama adorned with crimson attire hanging from timber, billowing within the wind like ghostly echoes of untold tales. The REDress Challenge, conceived by artist Jaime Black, is a public artwork set up that started in 2010, and that breathes life right into a poignant image geared toward elevating consciousness in regards to the staggering variety of lacking and murdered Indigenous girls(MMIW) throughout North America.
Every crimson costume, rigorously chosen or donated, represents a life misplaced or a girl nonetheless lacking. The set up artwork venture serves as a visible reminder, difficult communities to confront the cruel realities confronted by Indigenous girls. The selection of the colour crimson is deliberate – the artist selected the colour after conversations with an indigenous good friend, who informed her that crimson is the one coloration the spirits can see. “So (crimson) is known as a calling again of the spirits of those girls and permitting them an opportunity to be amongst us and have their voices heard by means of their members of the family and group”, Jaime Black informed CTV information. The artist has additionally urged “crimson symbolizes each vitality and violence” in keeping with The Washington Submit.
As these empty attire sway within the wind, they carry with them the burden of numerous narratives, invoking a name to motion for justice and systemic change. The REDress Challenge transcends its inventive origins, turning into a strong voice for Indigenous communities advocating for the security and well-being of their girls.
The venture has impressed different artists to make use of crimson to attract consideration to the difficulty of MMIW, and prompted the creation of Crimson Gown Day, which happens on Could 5th. The primary Crimson Gown Day was noticed in 2010 and is a day to honor and convey consciousness to the 1000’s of Indigenous girls and women, who’ve gone lacking or who’ve been murdered.
Nationwide Ribbon Skirt Day
Amidst the sobering echoes of the REDress Challenge, a day of celebration and cultural satisfaction emerged – Nationwide Ribbon Skirt Day. This occasion is noticed on January 4th and was first celebrated in 2023. The day was impressed by Isabella Kulak, an Indigenous lady in Saskatchewan who was humiliated for carrying a standard ribbon skirt to a proper costume day at her elementary faculty in 2020.
The ribbon skirt, a standard garment worn by Indigenous girls, serves as a testomony to the energy and spirit of Indigenous cultures. It embodies a connection to heritage, land, and group. Crimson Ribbon Skirt Day invitations people to don this symbolic garment, fostering a way of unity and satisfaction inside Indigenous communities.
The Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge
Complementing Nationwide Ribbon Skirt Day is the Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge, a grassroots motion that empowers Indigenous girls by means of artwork and storytelling. This initiative encourages girls to create and share their very own crimson ribbon skirts, every adorned with private symbols and tales that replicate their distinctive journeys.
The Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge transforms the crimson ribbon skirt right into a canvas of empowerment, giving a voice to those that have been silenced for too lengthy. By way of the creation of those symbolic clothes, girls reclaim their narratives and have a good time the energy inherent of their id.
In response to the Museum on Vancouver, “ribbon skirts and attire have been worn by Indigenous girls in Canada because the early 1800s. Massive quantities of ribbon had been imported by the Hudson’s Bay Firm within the nineteenth Century for the Indigenous wives of fur merchants and their kids. The clothes made with ribbon has grow to be an necessary a part of Indigenous tradition. Ribbon attire proceed to symbolize the wearer’s id and are seen as symbols of resilience.”
Jamie Smallboy/Nohtikwew pisim is Plains Cree however lives in Vancouver. In 2019, she started the Crimson Sisters Gathering, a gaggle that sews crimson ribbon skirts for the households of Murdered and Lacking Indigenous Girls and Ladies—and the skirts had been worn on the Girls’s Memorial March in Vancouver on Feb. 14, 2022. In 2021, Smallboy additionally based the non-profit society Sweetgrass Sisters Therapeutic, which now administers the Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge. Beneath is a video to be taught extra in regards to the motion.
Video of the Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge. (Video Courtesy of YouTube, Museum of Vancouver)
In a world the place the echoes of the REDress Challenge linger, and the Nationwide Ribbon Skirt Day and Crimson Ribbon Skirt Challenge flourish, the facility of crimson turns into a unifying power. It’s a hue that transcends sorrow whereas embodying the resilience, satisfaction, and energy of Indigenous communities. By way of artwork, coloration, activism, and cultural celebration, these initiatives invite us to pay attention, be taught, and stand in solidarity with those that have lengthy been marginalized.
To be taught extra about coloration, coloration idea and coloration relationships, view these classes: on the UoF web site: