Tomorrow is International Women’s Day — a day for us to both celebrate how far women have come and mourn what women before us have sacrificed.
One way to do both is by checking out artist Ilene Sova‘s The Missing Women Project, which is being shown at the Creative Blueprint Gallery (376 Bathurst St.) until March 19. In this haunting and stirring project, Sova paints portraits of women reported missing in Ontario between 1970 and 2000—many of whom struggled with mental illness and life on the street. Each portrait is beautiful and vulnerable; you could stare at the painted faces for hours and still feel like there’s more to discover.
“I researched each of [the women] extensively and spent hours at the Toronto Library going through newspaper databases,” Sova told SDTC in 2011. “Usually a glimmer of their personality would come through quotes from friends or family members.” Still, during her research Sova found that there was little-to-no coverage on at-risk women at the time. But that made her project all the more important; and as she said, “telling untold stories brings happiness.”
So grab your moms/sisters/aunts/cousins/grandmas/friends/bosses/colleagues/enemies, hug them tight, and visit The Missing Women Project. If we remember them, they are not really lost.