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Julia Dzikiewicz: Protests Past and Present

Women's March 2017
Women’s March 2017

Growing up with activist parents, Dzikiewicz learned to see injustice in the world from an early age. Her mother marched for the Equal Rights Amendment and participated in politics and human rights campaigns.

Dzikiewcz creates her work mostly in wax, from figurine hands to embellishment, to famous faces. However, in between all those haunting waxen figures and ornament, lies a ray of light—literally. Many of Dzikiewiczs’ works feature embedded miniature LED lights that give the 3D work even more dimensionality and an added element of interest.

wax encaustic detail of hands knitting one of the eponymous pink hats from the Women's March 2017
Wax encaustic detail of hands knitting one of the eponymous pink hats from Women’s March 2017

Reminiscent of Byzantine and early Christian art, Dzikiewcz focuses on female figures with extravagant embellishment, marrying whimsy and technology, with historical influences. She also mixes in a bit of humor, and always begs the viewer to take a closer look.

In Lucy Burns, Dzikiewz tells the story of suffragist and pacifist Lucy Burns, after she was arrested at a peaceful White House protest in 1917 and jailed at Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia. The night of November 10, 2017, or “Night of Terror” as it became known, proved to be a harrowing night of imprisonment, brutality, and abuse for the 33 female suffragists who were arrested following the protest. Eventually, their imprisonment was ruled unconstitutional, and they were granted release after a Presidential plea.

Lucy Burns by Julie Dzikiewicz
Lucy Burns by Julie Dzikiewicz

“My work is about women coming together to show strength in the face of hate,” Dzikiewicz said. Many of Dzikiewicz’s pieces include the juxtaposition of hatred and evil, often depicted in reds and blacks, and strength and unity, often depicted in blues and pinks.

Detail of Womens March 2017
Detail of Womens March 2017

In Women’s March 2017, Dzikiewicz features the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, one of the presenters at the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017, visually showcasing Alicia’s voice through musical notes. The painting dually depicts the importance of her voice pushing back against symbols of hatred that the Women’s March sought to fight against. The top corners of the piece feature the oldest speaker at the march (Gloria Steinem, the 83-year old feminist political activist), and the youngest (Sophie Cruz, a 6-year old immigration rights activist): showcasing the Women’s Movement’s strong past as well as its bright future.

“Pink Hat Protest Paintings” will be on view at The Art League Gallery from October 10—November 4, 2018. If you’d like to learn more about the artist and her work, RSVP for “Drawn In: A Look at Protest Paintings” on October 25.

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