“I think that no matter where the work is, it brings out a new story – ideally the story of land where it’s located,” Black said.
That makes the exhibition portable. It takes on a slightly different shape at its various locations across Grounds.
“The beauty of her concept is that it can happen anywhere,” said Adriana Greci Green, The Fralin’s curator of Indigenous art.
Most of the dresses in the exhibits have been donated by members of the Native and Indigenous Relations Community at the University, which is sponsoring the exhibition in collaboration with The Fralin. The Dean’s Fund for the Democracy Initiative supported the exhibition.
Bringing the dresses to the University will reach a different audience than those who see Black’s work at museums. Black originally envisioned REDress as a guerrilla art project, springing up spontaneously in high-traffic areas. But she’s found fulfillment in working with the Native and Indigenous Relations Community and other institutions.
“When it’s shown at a university, it’s an opportunity for students and staff to engage with this work,” Black said.
UVA’s Native and Indigenous Relations Community sponsored the exhibit in commemoration of the federally designated Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People Day, which is May 5. The day is also called Red Dress Day – an acknowledgement of Black’s art.