Image by Artists of the Aurora, Victor Klassen, Shelina Knight and Noah Handa-Kipphoff

Image by Artists of the Aurora, Victor Klassen, Shelina Knight and Noah Handa-Kipphoff


have you seen my sister
Premiere was nuit blanche toronto 2017
independent project 89
SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 to october 1, 2017
51 Grosvenor street, toronto

For twelve hours, artists sang the names of Canada's missing women in a composition and improvisation for unaccompanied voice. The piece invited guests to add their voices to the installation in call/response sections. Ribbons, were offered to be taken home or used to create art on site. They served as a reminder of the missing women. When worn, they prompt one to look around corridors of power and privilege and ask: “Who is missing?” provoking us to draw connections between these absences and the phenomena of missing and murdered women and girls.

The image for Have You Seen My Sister? started with a painting by Artists of the Aurora collective member Victor Klassen. Design members Pat Vandesompele, Noah Handa-Kipphoff, and Shelina Knight worked to create an image that evokes missing posters. The missing in this poster is Everywoman. She carries the world on her shoulders. The image draws connections among the phenomena of missing and murdered women in Canada and throughout the world. Indigenous women, women of colour,  women living in poverty, people who are transgendered: it is often the most disenfranchised whose numbers are over-represented in missing and murdered statistics.

What's next for the project? The artists are continuing the memorial, planning to record one 15 minute quadrant of the piece and inviting artists and musicians from other provinces to engage with Have You Seen My Sister? in a bid to raise awareness and ultimately reduce the violence against women. We are also calling for an authoritative list to document the cases across the country so that the evidence can be analyzed and evidence-based responses to reduce the violence can be initiated. A related project in the schools will offer Explorations theatrical workshops designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore issues of prejudice from the perspectives of perpetrator, by-stander and recipient. The idea is help students create strategies for dealing with such prejudice.

For this project, we drew on the lists generated by Maryanne Pearce and her Appendix F for her thesis An Awkward Silence. You can read Maryanne's thesis here. We also drew on the lists generated by Orla Hegarty and the Newfoundland Feminists and Allies and we also drew on the work published by the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses. 

composer's notes


Artists of the Aurora


Artists of the Aurora is a pan-Canadian collective of musicians, artists and researchers
gathering to collaborate on Have You Seen My Sister?

Would you like to join us as a singer, reciter or docent for Have You Seen My Sister?

If you'd like more information about us, to schedule an interview or to join us, please email us or telephone us 416.606.0799.