I was recently asked to contribute a figurative sculpture to the Women of Distinction Breakfast in support of the United Way women’s SPARK Giving Campaign in Ottawa. I’ve given a lot of thought to what character would be appropriate and relatable for this group of powerful, community-minded women. The image that kept coming to mind was J. Howard Miller’s wartime poster “We Can Do It!” Here’s my version – she’s 17″ tall and is sculpted from polymer clay and textiles. Hanging from her belt is a hand crafted saw from Germany and her hair is made from a fine cotton wool from Italy.
“We Can Do It!” is an American wartime propaganda poster produced in 1943 for Westinghouse Electric as an inspirational image to boost worker morale. The poster is generally thought to be based on a black-and-white wire service photograph taken of a Michigan factory worker named Geraldine Hoff.
The image was rediscovered and was used to promote feminism and other political issues beginning in the 1980s. It was also called “Rosie the Riveter” after the iconic figure of a strong female war production worker. The image made the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and was fashioned into a US first-class mail stamp in 1999. It was incorporated in 2008 into campaign materials for several American politicians, and was reworked by an artist in 2010 to celebrate the first woman becoming prime minister of Australia. Here’s the campaign poster for Australian President, Julia Gillard as Rosie the Riveter.
Norman Rockwell also create a version of “Rosie the Riveter” which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943.
From politicians to Beyonce, from war to feminism, Rosie has been an art icon around the world and a symbol of women’s rights. Go Girl Power!
You can read the whole story of Rosie the Riveter at http://www.pophistorydig.com/topics/rosie-the-riveter-1941-1945/