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Artists and historical events: Julia Dzikiewicz

Julia Dzikiewicz 'Zombies and Suffragists' painting shown at GRACE
Julia Dzikiewicz 'Zombies and Suffragists' painting shown at GRACE
Julia Dzikiewicz

When starting an article like this, it is overwhelming and impossible because there is so much history of artists being intertwined with historical events. When writing an article about artist Dorothy Fall yesterday and thinking about her husband, Bernie who lost his life as a war correspondent in Vietnam, I noted that both attended Syracuse University. When I attended university at Ohio State, I first learned about Sacco and Vanzetti while studying political science from Professor Jake Silver. I did a paper on the Western Federation of Miners Union and that somehow led to Italian-born anarchists who were convicted of murdering two men during the armed robbery of a shoe factory in Braintree, Massachusetts, United States in 1920.

Julia Dzikiewicz, artist
Courtesy of Julia Dzikiewicz

The connection was that they were involved in a labor dispute and strike from which they were falsely accused, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Artist Ben Shahn, a Lithuanian-born American artist embraced the tragedy and produced art from which a mural was made at Syracuse University. That made a lasting impression.

It was that mural image that brought the entire story home. Next, I wanted to learn more about Ben Shahn. I wondered, why am I studying political science when artists like this can express so much and connect to living events? I let it go, and that is too bad.

Then along came Julia Dzikewicz at the Greater Reston Arts Center, Artist Member Exhibition and her work “Zombies and Suffragists,” 2013, encaustic with crystals on cradled panels 60” x 60”. Encaustic painting is done with hot wax.

From the gallery catalogue she describes:

“My latest work concerns transformation and suffering. As a woman artist who is working at the Workhouse Arts Center, my work reflects the brave women who were imprisoned here. The women prisoners were force-fed, put into solitary confinement and sleep-deprived for demanding the right to vote. This piece depicts an event in 1917 that shows the Suffragists recently arrested for picketing the White House arriving at prison and forced to take a shower with no privacy, filthy soap, and an angry prison matron.”

Julia Dzikiewicz, Greater Reston Arts Center, Artist Member Exhibition Catalogue

The fact is that given an opportunity, there are those in Congress today who would have women repeat that experience. They might take away their right to make decisions about their own body, for instance. They might like to interfere in their personal and private right to choose.

Yet, this is an art column and surely not political, correct?

The subject painting is dark and frightening. Its size is large and imposing which is a good decision by the artist. She is in the Workhouse.

“Artist's Statement
Building 5
Studio 503

My latest work concerns transformation and suffering.As a woman artist working in the newly opened Workhouse Arts Center, my works reflects upon the brave women who were imprisoned here. They were force-fed,put into solitary confinement,and sleep deprived for demanding the right to vote. I often wonder how they awakened to the idea that they deserved basic human rights, in a time where this was considered absurd.
These paintings conbine images of women from that era,portraits of figures in the suffagrette movement,and icons of their oppression and struggle for freedom.These works are created with encaustic. Mixed medua works include real photo postcards from the early 1900's.

Building 5
Studio 503

Julia Dzikiewicz entered this world as an identical twin. She and her twin attended UVA where, despite radically different haircuts, they were often mistaken for each other. Julia attained a Bs(Arch) and, ignoring her father's advice to design greeting cards, began studying at the University of Virginia,the Art League,the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and R&F Paints.
She has exhibited her oil, acrylic, mixed media and encaustic paintings in numerous galleries across the United States.”

Having reviewed her work at different websites, this is a provocative artist who has much more history to interpret and to make on her own merit with much talent and unique skill.

9522 Workhouse Road, Lorton,VA

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