21:49 PM

Student art exhibit honours women in Ontario skilled trades


A group of Mohawk College students is marking International Women’s Day 2023 by celebrating women in skilled trades with an illustrated poster series and art exhibition.

Students in the college’s Graphic Design program collaborated with tradeswomen across Ontario for this project, asking the participating tradeswomen to write about their career journeys. The students have artistically interpreted their subjects and their trades through art and typography. The resulting paintings and posters will be the focus of an art exhibit at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.

“This poster series is the product of the students’ creative collaboration, celebrating the work of women and underrepresented gender identities in the skilled trades,” said Leif Peng, the Graphic Design professor who assigned the project. “Women and gender-diverse workers across sectors still struggle for gender parity, safe workplaces, and pay equity. Like the tools these artists and skilled tradeswomen use in their daily work, we know that a brighter future is in our hands. We hope these posters will inspire future tradeswomen and encourage solidarity for all women and gender-diverse workers.”

Working in partnership with the Ontario Building and Construction Tradeswomen (OBCT), affiliated with the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO), each student was assigned a specific tradeswoman as their subject. They were tasked with creating an acrylic portrait or montage of their subject doing her work and then designing a poster to illustrate that tradeswoman’s career journey.

“Through this collaborative project, the Building Trades are proud to see the diverse showcasing of construction tradeswomen through a creative lens that gives insights into the individual crafts that build our province,” said Marc Arsenault, Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer with Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

“We’re thrilled to commemorate International Women’s Day 2023 with this collaborative exhibition,” said Kat Williams, Outreach & Development Specialist with the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. “These evocative posters highlight the important work of women and gender-diverse people in the skilled trades. Generative intersections between art and labour, like this exhibition, are at the heart of WAHC’s mission.”

The exhibit at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (51 Stuart St, Hamilton, ON L8L 1B5) opens March 8, to coincide with International Women’s Day, and will run until April 15th. The exhibit will be open to the public during regular business hours. Admission is free.