Part of the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival this year is the Forgotten Moccasins Photo Project, which will be presented at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on Saturday.
Organizer Maureen MacKenzie said that on top of presenting the work of indigenous artist Tom Baril, they also wanted to have a day of focusing on First Nations culture.
“Because of Truth and Recognition along with added focus on our indigenous cultures we thought it would be beneficial to the community to do a bit more,” she said.
According to the events Facebook page Baril has, “A strong eye for capturing the textures, and colors of everyday life, while depicting the emptiness and sense of loss of the children left behind when an Indigenous Mother has been murdered or has gone missing.
“His imagery, and his passion for this project brings many to tears as they hear him speak and witness the effects of the tragedy that continues to occur across Canada.”
To begin the event, Pow Wow dancer from Maskwacis will perform in Lest We Forget Park starting at 1 p.m. followed by the official opening of Baril’s work at 2 p.m. in the LMC foyer.
“He will be here to speak about his project and he is a lovely young man. His photos are so incredible and I found them very emotional,” he said.
The photos will be presented alongside red dresses signifying the mothers of children left behind.
“We are tying it all together to give a full visual of the entire impact,” MacKenzie said.
Following Baril’s talk, the LMC will host two elders and an indigenous educator to share their wisdom around 2:30 p.m.
“We have done a lot of indigenous art exhibitions, but nothing like this where we build on some of the issues facing First Nations people,” MacKenzie said.
The idea for Forgotten Moccasins came from a project in Red Deer, according to a statement on the events Facebook page.
“I got the idea for this project from The Red Dress Project which raises awareness to the high number of missing or murdered Indigenous women. The Forgotten Moccasin photo project builds on the idea of the missing women, but focuses on the children who are negatively affected,” it said.
“When the women suffer in a community the whole future of the community suffers.”
The exhibition will be on display at the LMC until the end of November 2019.