IKEA Stores Hosting Indigenous Art
IKEA Canada will host an art installation by The Canadian Library honouring thousands of murdered and missing Indigenous women and children in all 14 of its stores across the country until the end of the year.
Each installation will feature a Billy bookcase filled with books covered in Indigenous-inspired fabric and instead of titles, the book spines will note the individual names of missing Indigenous women and children. IKEA co-workers and customers can learn more about the individuals being honoured by scanning an integrated QR code that directs to an online catalogue of stories compiled by volunteers across Canada.
“At IKEA Canada, we care deeply about Indigenous Peoples and it’s our ambition to be part of real change through meaningful action,” John Williams, the retailer’s equality, diversity and inclusion leader said in a statement.”
The initiative was launched on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30) and prior to Sisters in Spirit Day.
“Our intention is to create awareness and enable tough conversations about this ongoing violence that affects Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people,” Williams said. “Our hope is that these installations spark meaningful change with our co-workers and customers.”
The Canadian Library is a grassroots art installation project that serves as a memorial to all First Nations, Metis and Inuit women and children who have suffered abuse, lost their lives due to brutality or have been forgotten. The installations at IKEA Canada stores will feature 2,250 books and contribute to The Canadian Library’s ambition to complete 8,000 across the country.
“The impact of this partnership is profound – to be able to share with and educate thousands of Canadians is going to have a massive impact in helping to bring about true reconciliation,” said Shanta Sundarason, team lead for the library. “We thank IKEA for being the first national organization to join us on this journey and look forward to seeing the installations in stores this fall before they are gifted to a final home as a permanent art installation and educational platform.”
This installation is one of many initiatives under IKEA Canada’s Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy established in 2021. Developed in alignment with the retailer’s equality plan and in consultation with the Indigenous community, this strategy will continue to unfold in the coming years under three key pillars: learning and teaching, collaboration and amplification, and reciprocity with the Indigenous community.
As part of its commitment to Indigenous Reconciliation, IKEA Canada is also working with 4 Seasons of Reconciliation to offer an online professional development course to all IKEA co-workers. Developed in partnership with First Nations University of Canada – a federated college of the University of Regina – Indigenous Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and residential school survivors, the course provides foundational knowledge about truth and reconciliation, deepens historical understanding and expands knowledge about current indigenous realities.
Learn more about the The Canadian Library installation at IKEA Canada by visiting IKEA.ca/TheCanadianLibrary.