May’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Merritt Decloux, Michaela Van Beinum, and Zainab Muse to support a project honouring and celebrating Black and Indigenous women.
“The project,” explains Zainab, “will feature the portraits and stories of fifty-two diverse women that identify as either Black, Indigenous, or both, and will use projection mapping to showcase their stories. To amplify the stories of the women, we will also engage our local community in conversations about equity.”
“Historical data shows that Black and Indigenous women are most at risk for discrimination and inequity,” she explains. “In 2016, missing and murdered Indigenous women became a national crisis in Canada with an official inquiry set up by the federal government. Data shows that between 1980–2012, Indigenous women and girls represented 16% of female homicides in Canada, while constituting only 4% of the female population.”
“Similarly, in 2020, anti-Black racism became a public health crisis, the majority of which disproportionately affects Black women and girls. They face health disparities and unnecessary poor health outcomes due to marginalization and social exclusion, especially in spaces like education, health, criminal justice, the labour market, and academia.”
“Our project will aim to share the vast breath of identities that exist for Black and Indigenous women in Ottawa, while reminding our community about the important contributions these women offer.”
Merritt, Michaela, and Zainab are working together as Tessellate Collective, which they describe as a group of creatively diverse individuals with a shared mandate to intersect art and technology in order to reimagine and inspire a better world that works for all. “We believe that our current societal problems affect all aspects of life,” says Zainab, “and so it takes collectivism to amplify the boundaries of human capacity by bridging gaps to build connections, spark collaboration, and envision a thriving future that is fair and sustainable for all.”
Funded by Ottawa, ON (May 2021)