VIDEO: Art exhibit maps out women's perceptions of Kamloops - InfoNews

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VIDEO: Art exhibit maps out women's perceptions of Kamloops

Emily Dundas-Oke points to the map where women find the city beautiful, safe, unsafe and where important services are, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018.
August 20, 2018 - 11:00 AM

KAMLOOPS - A survey of around 800 women in Kamloops has become a cultural mapping and participatory art project entitled EmpowerHer.

Emily Dundas Oke and Marnie Badham surveyed close to 800 woman asking them: where you felt safe; where you found beauty; where you got support; and where you felt unsafe. The answers were placed on a map.

The artists wanted to know what the city had to offer those who call it home, and where improvements, if any, could be made.

One of their discoveries was that context plays a huge part in whether or not a woman feels safe in an area of the city.

“Near the river was one of those places that got represented in every workshop,” Dundas Oke says.

She referred to it as “one of those complicated areas” because while it was often listed as a place of beauty it was also marked as a place of danger.

Dundas Oke offered several reasons for this such as the time of day and who the woman was with. If she was near the river alone, she often felt safe, but if she was with her child that might change things. The time of day and amount of light was also a factor.

“The need for visibility in a lot of parts of our city is really big,” she said. “Creating places where there’s enough light so women have a sense of who is in the area with them is important. After dark a lot of women don’t want to leave their homes.”

The project also brought to light the need for women-only services.

“There’s some organizations where (women) don’t feel safe,” Dundas Oke says.

She says this is "just the first step" for the EmpowerHer art project.

“It’s a collaborative project so the partnerships keep growing and it kinda takes a life of its own."

—This story was corrected on Thursday Aug. 30, 2018. A previous version misspelled Emily Dundas Oke's name, and listed Marnie Badham as a Kamloops artist when she is actually based out of  Melbourne, Australia. 


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