Friday, August 21, 2020

A Massive Ida B. Wells Mosaic Is Coming to Union Station

A thousand portraits of suffragists make up the massive mosaic of Ida B. Wells that will call Union Station home next week, a nod to the 100-year anniversary of the right-to-vote movement and the role the D.C. landmark played.

From Aug. 24-28, the 1,000-square-foot mosaic, titled “Our Story: Portraits of Change,” will be displayed on the marble floor, assembled from thousands of historical photos of suffragists, with each image telling its own story about the fight for women’s right to vote.

“We’ve gathered together over 1,000 portraits of suffragists, and when you put those photographs together in a certain way and zoom out, those 1,000 portraits then become one very large portrait of suffragist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells,” Anna Laymon, director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.

Wells, a journalist, activist and educator, “traveled internationally, shedding light on lynching to foreign audiences. Abroad, she openly confronted white women in the suffrage movement who ignored lynching. Because of her stance, she was often ridiculed and ostracized by women’s suffrage organizations in the United States,” according to the National Women’s History Museum.

The mosaic portrait installation made of smaller images speaks to the power of the many it takes to form a social movement, Laymon said.

Visual artists Helen Marshall, of The People’s Picture, and Cristina Korp, of Purpose Entertainment, brought the vision of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to reality.

Marshall, who has worked on similar projects, including one marking the centenary of the women’s vote in U.K. in 2018, said, “I am beyond grateful to have enjoyed so many of the choices brought to me by the generations of women before me.”


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