As part of a class project, Alannah Collins decided to embody part of herself into a creative art project that encompassed the theme of social justice.
Alannah Collins is a fourth-year English student at the University of Winnipeg. Once her professor, Sandy Pool assigned the interactive art project, Collins did not know what to do but decided to put some of who she is into it.
"The way I understood that part was that it had to involve me in it somehow in some shape or form, but also it had to be interactive and creative," says Collins. "That was one descriptor and the Winnipeg part was crucial as well. It had to be interactive, not just with the people of Winnipeg, but also Winnipeg as a place."
The English student says that the first thing she had to figure out was how to bring art into her idea of making something meaningful for herself. She was searching for ideas on Pinterest when she came across these ribbon chandeliers that looked cool and easy to make.
She made the decision to make the ribbons red to resemble the increase of media attention on the mass murder of Indigenous women in December.
"It was kind of affecting me in a negative way to be honest because it's the stories and the headlines and it's these really sad things that are happening to this group of people. It made me upset and I wanted to do something but I didn't know how to do anything, and I didn't know what could be done. So I started to think about how that could play into the art project.
Collins understands that there is a lot of violence and trauma that surrounds the subject of MMIWG2S, but she wants these chandeliers to show that there is light in the darkness of this cause.
She hopes that people will look at the ribbon chandeliers and remember that those who have lost their lives, loved and were loved before anything bad ever happened to them.
Collins has been in contact with Art Junktion about running and facilitating a program where people create the ribbon chandeliers themselves while she gives information about MMIWG2S.
She has also had the privilege of talking to teachers while giving them the art project, and she says that they hang up these small pieces of art in their classrooms which then allows discussions of the topic to happen.
Collins says that back in 1998, her aunt, Tania Marsden, had been murdered on her 18th birthday.
This made the project a cathartic process for the university student.
Making and distributing the chandeliers allowed Collins to engage in conversations she's never had before and to talk about her aunt in a way that she never did before.
"Only when people started asking me, like a lot of the people who got the ribbon chandeliers, we talked about my aunt and then I realized I've actually never done that before. It made me realize how many other people, when they are affected by this trauma, what it does to families."