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Walpole Library welcomes women’s posters

By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff

Anyone who has visited the Walpole Library in the last few weeks will have noticed that books are no longer the only thing lining the walls.

New to the library are numerous posters that have taken up residence in its halls. These colorful posters are all designed by different artists, and come from all over the world, with some hailing from as close as Boston and as far as Australia and India. These posters are part of an exhibit taking place in both the Walpole Library and the Akilian Gallery at Massasoit Community College in celebration of International Women’s Day, that occurs on March 8.

The diverse collection of posters cover a variety of women’s issues, including equal pay and working rights, sexist discrimination, and voting rights. The impressive collection belongs to Stephen Lewis, a political activist and a union leader. According to a press release from Massasoit College discussing the exhibit, Lewis began collecting the posters 15 years ago when he would attend political events, like protests and marches. He began taking posters from the different organizations in attendance, and soon amassed a collection of 8,000 posters. A portion of these poster covered women’s issues and causes. Years later, Lewis decided to start organizing different exhibits using his collection of posters.

“He comes every year and he always brings something different,” said a librarian.

The walls of Walpole Library’s Community Room are covered with the posters. One of them, located at the front of the room, originates from Canada and was designed by Nora Patrich in 2007 for International Women’s Day. Patrich is a well-known artist initially from Argentina. Since being exiled from her home country, Patrich has continued to create political art. In this particular poster, Patrich paints six women wearing dresses, two with children on their laps. Text at the feet of the women reveals what the poster was created for: “BC Government and Service Employees’ Union.”

Another poster in the community room comes from Roxbury, Massachusetts. It was created for the Third International Women’s Day in 1975. Though the creator of it is unknown, the poster has enough information to reveal how Roxbury women were celebrating that day. Illustrated on the poster are four women. One of the women is holding a gun. Another is holding a baby. The third is working at a sewing machine. The fourth seems to be looking off into the distance, as if looking towards the future. The women appear to represent the different roles women take on. Beneath the illustration is information about the different events occurring during the celebration and information about the location. At the very bottom of the poster are three words: “Together,” “Struggle,” and “Dignity.” The poster serves as not only a promotion for the 1975 celebration, but also a reminder that even though we live in the United States, there is still work to be done when it comes to women’s rights in this country.

The posters will be viewable until March 29, and provide a unique opportunity for the community to learn about women’s history around the world. The exhibit succeeds in making the observer consider his or her own role in this world, and the issues that still exist when it comes to women’s rights.

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