Paraskeva Clark's Wartime Art

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Before World War II women were labeled as inferior and incapable compared to men in the Canadian workforce. The women’s traditional role as homemaker reflected the social norms, and values of the time. Change came during World War II when Women temporarily filled non-traditional roles in the wartime labour force and society (MacIvor 14). The entrance of women into society and out from their roles as homemakers was monumental as it was the first time women were seen as capable individuals, held paid positions, and proved they could do “man’s work”. Married women who entered the workforce juggled between working full time hours and being the keeper of the house and children. War records were created to commemorate women’s roles during the war, and many artists were commissioned to photograph and paint the daily activities of the Women’s Division. Paraskeva Clark, a vibrant and politically passionate female Canadian artist from the 1930s to 1950s was one of the commissioned war artists of the National Gallery who painted women in the armed forces hard at work. Like the housewives who juggled keeping the house and children while working, Paraskeva found it hard to balance her role as a homemaker with her professional life as an artist. Painting the realities of the women working in the armed forces, Paraskeva breaks the long held gender stereotypes against women of Canadian society by raising the perception of women’s contribution, work, and presence in World War II. The three wartime pieces she painted showed her painting style of interesting composition, sharp viewpoint, and how hard women concentrated on their work. Paraskeva Clark proved how powerful and inspiring she was as a female artist, by painting war records of when wom... ... middle of paper ... to the women and shows them as women in society away from their roles in the home and doing jobs they never thought would ever be available to them. Works Cited Anreus, Alegandro, Diana L. Linden, and Jonathan Weinberg. “Come out from Behind the Pre-Cambrian Shield: The Politics of Memory and Identity in the Art of Paraskeva Clark.” The Social and the Real: Political Art of the 1930s in the Western Hemisphere. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University, 2006. 223-240. Print. Clark, Paraskeva. “Charles Hill Interview with Paraskeva Clark.” National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives. 18 Oct. 1973. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. Lind, Jane. Perfect Red: The Life of Paraskeva Clark. Toronto, ON: Cormorant Books Inc, 2009. 159-169. Print. Maclvor, Heather. Women and Politics in Canada. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1996. 13-105.Print.
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