ARTISTS OF THE AURORA
have you seen my sister
Have You Seen My Sister? is an aural installation for unaccompanied voice. Divided into 15 minute quadrants, each of which is divided into four songs, the piece builds a human voice memorial to the missing and murdered women and girls of Ontario, of Canada, of the world.
The debut performance for Nuit Blanche Toronto, lasted 12 hours with 48 quadrants of15 minutes each. Eighty professional, amateur and emerging singers and actors took part throughout the night. Hey, Have You Seen My Sister? , the first song of the cycle contrasts the hopeful voice at the beginning of a search with the doleful one as the search wears on. In the second movement, soloists sing the names of the missing as if calling for them. In the The debut performance for Nuit Blanche Toronto, lasted 12 hours with 48 quadrants of15 minutes each. Eighty professional, amateur and emerging singers and actors took part throughout the night. Hey, Have You Seen My Sister? , the first song of
the cycle contrasts the hopeful voice at the beginning of a search with the doleful one as the search wears on. In the second movement, soloists sing the names of the missing as if calling for them. In the third song, singers ask to be reminded to wonder who is missing from the corridors of privilege because it is these women who are found in disproportionate numbers on the missing and murdered lists: Indigenous women, women of colour, women living in poverty and transgender women. In the final song, the names of the murdered women and girls are recited, with the company sings “gone, gone”, like funeral bells tolling.
Have You Seen My Sister? was composed Dr. Aruna Antonella Handa, a musician in Toronto, who is Artistic Director of Artists of the Aurora. Currently the collective is raising funds to record the song cycle and to tour the province of Ontario with it. To contribute, please visit here.
Original installation: Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017
Independent project 89
September 30, 2017 to October 1, 2017
12 hour Installation
51 Grosvenor street, Toronto
"Everywoman" Painting by Victor Klassen
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 added text 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, trans women: it is often the most disenfranchised whose numbers are over-represented in missing and murdered statistics.
The Away Monument
Two on site visual memorials were part of the Nuit Blanche Installation. Designed by Pat Vandesompele and Steve McKeown,, the Away memorial was a tree of yellow ribbons for visitors to collect. The installation invited guests to take ribbons to serve as a reminder of the missing women and to they prompt us 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 Gone Monument
The Gone monument was a tribute to the murdered women of Ontario. Designed by Pat Vandesompele, the monument was difficult to construct in that there are no official authoritative lists and so the worry of missing names was ever-present.
What's next for the project?
The artists are continuing the memorial, raising funds to record one 15 minute quadrant of the song cycle and inviting artists and musicians from other provinces to engage with Have You Seen My Sister? in a bid to raise awareness to reduce the violence against women with evidence-based strategies.
The collective is calling for an authoritative list to document the cases of the missing and the murdered women and girls across the country so that the evidence can be analyzed and evidence-based responses to reduce violence can be devised and implemented.
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 drew on the lists generated by the NL Feminists and Allies, and we also drew on the work published by the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH). We also scoured the internet for updates on the missing and murdered and on the list of Jane Does, and unidentified remains.
Update: Dec. 4/17: Link to the most recent version of the OAITH list of femicides for 2016-17.
The following two lists are almost certainly inaccurate and incomplete. There is no authoritative list. Accordingly, we have had to create lists, compiling the works of others and adding to it from media reports and other information available online. In our Gone lists, we include women and girls who were killed violently by people they knew or by strangers. In the Away list, we include women and girls who have gone missing mysteriously. If you have updates for this list or omissions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
GONE LIST - WOMEN WHO WERE MURDERED IN ONTARIO DEC 5/16 TO MAY 30/18
PERFORMANCES to date
• Sept 30-Oct 1, 2017 (DEBUT). A 12-hour installation for Nuit Blanche Toronto as part of the official program of Independent Projects. Performance was dusk to dawn on Grosvenor Street behind Women's College Hospital.
• Dec 6, 2017. A 30-minute indoor performance to commemorate Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on violence against women, Hosted at the Centre for Social Innovation, Annex in Toronto.
• May 30, 2018. A 30 minute indoor performance for four voices & drums at the May 29-31 Gathering of Canadian Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario, held at Ontario College of Art and Design Ontario.
• June 9, 2018. a 30 minute outdoor performance for four voices & drums at the Open Tuning Festival, Toronto, Saturday June 9/18.