VICTORY GARDEN COLLECTIVE
In late 2016, a group of women artists united to create a series of striking, witty, and engaging works in the spirit of the World War II tradition of the “victory garden.” Initially planted to support the home front food supply, these public-park and backyard gardens came to be seen as beautiful elements of communities under pressure, “morale-boosting symbols of solidarity.” “Today, our world is again in political and environmental turmoil,” the Victory Garden artists write, “and we are similarly in need of nourishment and unification.”
Pursuing publicly-engaged art projects that aim to “initiate conversation and action,” the collective has made works that unite public and private spheres, such as candy valentine hearts printed with mottos like “Rise Up” and “Protest” and a kitchen apron emblazoned with the word “Persist,” speaking to the ongoing nature of both political action and domestic work. The “Miss 2017” suffragette-style sashes call to mind both turn-of-the-twentieth century women marching in pursuit of the right to vote and mid-century beauty queens parading before judges in swimsuits and high-heels. Made for the January 2017 Women’s March on Washington, the sashes respond both to the troubling misogynistic rhetoric that characterized the 2016 presidential campaign and to the election of the former owner of the Miss Universe Pageant. This project—which included printing and distributing hundreds of paper sashes to be worn at the march—removes the sash from a space of sexual objectification, returning it to a social and political context.
A collection of objects made to support National Strike Day, 2017
Louise Eastman’s contribution to the first VICTORY GARDEN project, a portfolio of collectable graphic t-shirts, 2016