Interactive exhibit centerpiece displays powerful message
BEMIDJI -- A small statue of a woman lies on a pedestal in the middle of the large room. The figure’s back is arched, and it’s arms are gone. A scarlet ribbon works its way from the body down the pedestal to a pile on the floor, cascading around and away from the piece.
A nearby placard lists the title: “Missing…”
The statue is the centerpiece in the exhibit “Bring Her Home,” at the Northwest Indian Community Development Center, which attempts to shine a light on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. The exhibit includes the work of 16 different artists who worked in a variety of mediums, but the centerpiece is arguably the most striking, the most demanding of attention.
“I had wanted to express the image of powerlessness without arms,” said Luzene Hill of Atlanta, the artist who created the piece specifically for the exhibit.
The statue has a female form, but it’s void of identifying features. No face. Unknown. It doesn’t stand for one. It stands for the many.
“I wanted to emphasize first of all that the exact number of how many people are missing or murdered is unknown,” Hill said.
Next to the pedestal is a basket filled with additional strands of ribbon. Viewers who have known a missing or murdered women can take a strip and add it to the pool of ribbons that make up the artwork.
While the piece itself is meant to shine a light on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, interaction with the piece is meant to give viewers a way to add their story to the chorus of so many others.
“I hope they feel that there’s attention paid to this,” Hill said about people who view the piece. “When they add a strip, if they want to do that, then they’re sort of participating in that voice.”