Author: Smiley, Cherry
Exhibited in a feminist centre, this installation uncovers women’s stories hidden beneath layers of occupation. Large-scale backlit photographs depict places in Vancouver of significance to four anonymous women, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who have been prostituted or affected by prostitution. These women’s stories are suspended as verbatim transcriptions. On the back of the transcriptions, and facing a wall that displays the visual herstory of the feminist collective inhabiting the space, each woman shares her political analysis of prostitution. An additional photo-text image is visible from the street. The backlight images reference the lights and consumerism of the city, sites where women who were once considered objects now become subjects, actively transforming memory into story and illuminating alternative ways of thinking and the possibility of social change. A public forum and online installation extends the work in other formats, provoking discussion and contemplation on the subject of prostitution in Canada and beyond.
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