Freedom Given and Taken Away

It seems like every year there are those holidays we celebrate because, well let’s face it, it’s a day off work. We forget what we’re celebrating as a nation and focus on the food, friends, or stuff. I am in every way often guilty of this and sometimes don’t know the history of some holidays. In saying this, it does seem that most of our national holidays are in remembrance of wars or those who fought in them. Having a brother who is a marine corps vet, I do have a special respect for our military men and women.
Recently I was asked to be a part of a show with the theme “1942” for the Orange County Great Park. In doing research for the significant things that happened that year, I found that it was a truly war ridden year. The 2 most interesting things to me were the installment of the Japanese internment camps, and the beginning of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. I chose to do my piece on the WAAC, since it seemed a little bit more positive than the internments.
My artist statement reads: “I chose to highlight the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) which was created in May of 1942. This branch’s important values included the tagline: “Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over.”Although this branch was originally meant to host about 11,000 members, in the end about 150,000 American women served in the WAAC and WAC during World War II.

As a firm believer in the feminist movement and equal rights, I think that this branch of the military is important to recognize for opening the doorway for many women to show their worth and value as members of society and history.”

I’ve always had an affinity for propaganda war memorabilia, esp those featuring retro women of the past. Everyone remembers iconic images of rosie the riveter, and other war posters with girls who could easily reappear in an episode of Mad Men. WAAC posters are no different. Even though they were temporary war relief, these women were still allowed to wear bright lipstick, and have their hair in the latest fashions.
I chose to do my piece as a take on this, with a central image of a woman with one of their slogans “This is our war…Join the WAAC”. When I was doing my research, I kept noticing the interesting insignia worn on the uniforms of the women and had the idea to find, and incorporate those lapel pins into my piece. I think adds some variety and uniqueness to the work.
I’m very happy with how my piece turned out in the end. It took a lot of research, time, and trial to get it just right. Sadly however, once I turned it in I was told that the piece was not the “right aesthetic” for this show. I’m extremely disappointed, not just for being asked to be in this show, and then reneged upon, but because the whole point of my piece was about equality and rights, both of which were violated with the rejection of my work. So while I feel very disheartened by this whole ordeal, I take pride in feeling good about my own work, with no loss at not being exhibited in a gallery of cookie cutter pieces that lack content, no matter how wonderfully rendered they may be.
It saddens me to have to experience this type of unfair bias, but I will always take pride in my work and continue to make things in the way that I see fit, irregardless of others “aesthetic” tastes. So whatever your case may be, fight for your freedom, and don’t stop doing what you love. Live independently of others and their close minded perspectives and once again, happy 4th!!


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