On March 7, 2020 we opened We Are Not Invisible: An Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Exhibition with artists: Canne, Raven Commando, Laura Fauchon, Anna Heffernan, Jordyn Hendricks, PJ Leroux, Rachel Nungnik, Nawyaak, Gwen Palluq, Frankie Pasap, Janice Toulouse, Georgette Whiteduck, and Carmel Whittle.
We were honoured to have Saulteaux Grandmother Irene Compton, and Inuit Elder Meeka Kakudluk at the vernissage to bless the exhibition with a smudge, drumming, a song of Miigwetch, an Inuktitut prayer and the lighting of a qulliq for, as Elder Meeka shared, "the loved ones who are now part of the light."
That afternoon the gallery was filled with joy and community for the exhibition's 13 artists and our exhibition partners: representatives from Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Tungasuvvingat Inuit, Minwaashin Lodge, and ACTION: the Anti-Violence & Coercion Taskforce for Indigenous Organizations & Networks.
A week after the opening, Ontario entered its first lockdown and we were unable to re-open the exhibition as planned. At the time we were unprepared to share it online, and we regret that more people were not able to see We Are Not Invisible in person.
Now we revisit the exhibition online, through a digital catalogue featuring the works and insights from each artist, as well as an exhibition essay by Jenny McMaster reflecting on Ottawa's human trafficking crisis and the works in the exhibition.
Miigwetch, narkummiik, maarcii, wela'lin to the organizers, contributors, and artists.