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A Note on Process

These portraits were painted from photographs of women at work in sweatshop industries gathered from many sources including National Geographic magazine. Several can be found in a series of books written for children in the geography section of the White Salmon Public Library in White Salmon, Washington.

Many of the portraits of women in this exhibit were painted on the fabric of dresses and shirts purchased at second-hand stores. When possible, I used the dress made in a country for the background of the woman's portrait. The women from Indonesia, for example, was painted on a dress sewn in Indonesia. In other cases, such as China and Colombia, the design on the cloth suggested to me the nationality of the woman. Bandanas are the background of two of the paintings. The flag pattern in the USA portrait was on the bandana made in China. The images are embedded in the cloth pattern as the women are imprisoned by the economic conditions of corporate and industrial globalization. But each portrait is of an individual person whose hopes and dreams are as worthy as our own.


colom.jpg (38790 bytes)
24" x 18"

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24" x 18"


Click on images to see detail


maur.jpg (49862 bytes)
36" x 24"

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18" x 14"


Click on images to see detail


haiti-3.jpg (54565 bytes)
36" x 24"

hond.jpg (44065 bytes)
18" x 14"

Follow this link to the SweatFree Communities website where Janet's collection of 22 paintings of sweatshop workers around the world is exhibited. Founded in 2003 by anti-sweatshop organizers in Maine, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin and elsewhere, SweatFree Communities assists sweatshop workers globally to improve working conditions and form strong, independent SweatFree Communities



2003-2011 Janet Essley. All Rights Reserved
Last Updated:  2/10/11
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