For some in our community, the home is not a safe place. “3 Miniature Suites” the window installation I designed as part of DesignTo Festival, takes a small-scale perspective on three major social issues, many of which take place in the privacy of our homes.
As recent statistics and tragic events show, these issues have been on the increase during COVID-19. Often it takes someone from the outside – a relative, family friend or teacher – to report occurrences or troubling signs. Or an entire community to demand changes to policies that are clearly failing those who are most vulnerable.
Miniature Suite 1: A woman is killed by an intimate partner nearly every six days in Canada. For women who face intimate partner violence, the risk has accelerated during the pandemic’s stay-at-home directive and its associated financial and mental stressors.
Miniature Suite #1 is in remembrance of the following women whose names are stitched into the miniature embroidered wall hanging.
Sherry Martin – murdered in her home by her domestic partner, Oshawa 2009.
Zahra Mohamoud Abdille – murdered along with her two children in their home by her husband, Toronto 2014.
Hanh (Hana) Nguyen – murdered in her home by her partner, Toronto 2019.
Lorraine Kerubo Ogoti – murdered in her home by her boyfriend, Toronto 2019.
Heeral Patel – murdered in her home by her ex-husband, Toronto 2020.
Miniature Suite 2: Calls for mental health referrals have been on the rise during Covid-19. Recent events have exposed the tragic outcomes that can occur when law enforcement is called to assist people with mental illness in crisis. These deaths have also sparked conversation about systemic racism and police reform.
Miniature Suite #2 is in remembrance of the following people whose painted portraits are hung on the walls.
D’Andre Campbell – a 26-year-old Black man who had schizophrenia was fatally shot by police in his home after he called them for help, April 2020, Brampton.
Regis Korchinski-Paquet – a 29-year-old Black-Indigenous woman, fell to her death from her high-rise apartment after police were called for a wellness check, May 2020, Toronto.
Ejaz Choudry – a 62-year-old brown-skinned Muslim man was fatally shot by police in his home after his family called the non-emergency line for help during a schizophrenic episode, June 2020, Mississauga.
And Lester Donaldson, who was fatally shot by police in his home in Toronto 1988. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. His death was one of the first high-profile cases in the city of a police shooting of a person battling mental illness.
Miniature Suite 3: Family members and caregivers are responsible for almost two-thirds of children and youth homicides in Canada. With pandemic lockdowns and school closures, at-risk kids now have nowhere and no one to turn to.
Miniature Suite #3 is in remembrance of the following children whose photographs are placed on the shelf.
Randal Dooley, age 7 – died after being routinely abused by his father and stepmother, Toronto 1998.
Farah Khan, age 5 – died in the care of her father and stepmother, Toronto 1999.
Jeffrey Baldwin, age 5 – died in the care of his grandparents from malnutrition and bacterial pneumonia, Toronto 2002.
Katelynn Sampson, age 7 – died after being abused for months at the hands of her caregivers, Toronto 2008.
The “3 Miniature Suites” window installation can be viewed from outdoors at Augustus Jones, 33 Davies Avenue, north of Queen Street East in Toronto, as part of the DesignTo Festival, January 22 to 31, 2021.
Media coverage of 3 Miniature Suites: Toronto Star article by Sue Carter: