Drawing On The Past

When we consider the idea of a political cartoon, we often think of a detailed drawing riffing on some error in judgement by one of our fearless leaders. Bill Clinton smoking a cigar. Barbara Bush needlepointing a "Read my lips: No new taxes" throw pillow. JFK picking up a scrip for Ms. Monroe. Ronald Reagan with a blank thought bubble. But during more controversial times--say, struggles for racial equality and women's suffrage--political cartoons were less whimsical, more pointed expressions of what should be or how things should be seen. For examples of such cartoons, look to the works of Nina Allender. The National Women's Party member and formally trained artist became involved with the Women's Suffrage Movement. With a prompt from the Alice Paul, Allender began cartooning for The Suffragist and depicting women of the movement not as overbearing monsters but as feminine, educated and spirited ladies. They were a drastic change from the usual images used by anti-suffrage campaigns, and they helped change life for American women. Allender's work is on display in the exhibition Redefining the Disfranchised: The Political Art of Nina Allender through August at The Women's Museum at Fair Park as the museum celebrates Women's Equality Day. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is $5. Call 214-915-0860 or visit thewomensmuseum.org.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 8. Continues through Aug. 31, 2008


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