CHICAGO — March is Women’s History Month. A month to recognize the courage and determination of extraordinary women and the expansive and undeniable impact they’ve made worldwide.
locally, ten Chicagoans who played a major role in the woman’s suffrage movement are being celebrated on an 86-foot-high mural titled “On the Wings of Change”.
Chicago-based artist Jasmina Cazacu, also known by her street art name as “Diosa”, brought the art to life.
“I’m incredibly honored that I was even considered for this let alone selected. But it means a lot just being woman,” says Diosa. “Getting to paint a mural that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, and the right for woman to vote, it’s incredibly special.”
The piece depicts a young girl opening a book from where portraits of the 10 celebrated trailblazers: Mary Livermore, Myra Bradwell, Frances E. Willard, Fannie Barrier Williams, Jane Addams, Mary Gitzbutler Waring, Catharine Waugh McCulloch, Ida B. Wells, Grace Wilbur Trout, and Agnes Nestor, are pictured along with birds representing the inspiring journey of the women who dared to soar to new heights.
The piece is 53-feet-wide and located in Chicago’s Wabash Arts Corridor, on 33 Ida B. Wells Drive.
“This was a bit of a collaborative process with Colombia College and myself,” says Diosa. “They had given me a pocket of 10 suffragists that they felt were incredibly influential in the movement. And it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10, there’s so many women that contributed to that effort. But their request was to incorporate the woman somehow and I got to be creative with how to do that.”
The mural took a month from start to finish last fall.
Diosa provided her free-hand talents, while local artists Jesse Navarette and Alphabomber Productions helped with the logistics.
The piece is now a permanent installment, and Diosa hopes it serves as an example to other young women.
“I hope it inspires them to be a catalyst for progress and change. I think we all can do something,” says Diosa. “We all can be involved in government and politics. It really is a community effort and to show up and be involved is making a change, and I hope people have courage to take part in that.”
“On The Wings of Change” is the first in a series of projects that will be commissioned by the committee and the first public artwork commemorating the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Chicago. Initially, the group had hoped to be celebrating 2 murals this March, but progress on a companion mural created by another local artist named Dorian Sylvain, was blocked by a local business owner, who cited the work as too political. The mural, titled “Speak Up,” was to feature the words, “I’m speaking,” a refrain repeated by Kamala Harris during the 2020 vice presidential debate.
You can find more information about the Wabash Arts Corridor and their fundraising campaigns here.