Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Labour of Frocks

Today I was at Queensland Art Gallery and mooched upon this amazing painting of women doing laundering. As I read more, it is a modern work referencing an earlier work from 1912 by Vida Lahey, Monday Morning. Interestingly, the image date coincides with a march by unionists and their supporters called Black Friday. It began with a tram strike in Brisbane as a result of tram workers being dismisses for wearing union badges, and ended in the police brutally dispersing the crowd at what is now King George Square.
Women's Work (1912) 2017 painted by Helen Johnson Australian, Vic b.1979
How hard it must have been to keep all those layers of clothing clean, and dust free in the streets of a quickly growing city. It would truly have been a days work! Let alone the difficulty of manouevering such heavy and clumsy skirts while getting on or off trams must have been so very challenging.

Women's work could not be more apt a title don't you think? It might make one quite tired, which is why the next painting seemed so relevant 😴.


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