Anne Callahan, a junior at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, took a well-known image of women’s strength and capability, arms factory worker Rosie the Riveter, and put her in a new uniform. Remarkably, the Bridgewater student’s inspiration came before US military officials made the decision predicted by her artwork, that women can now apply to serve in combat units.
Callahan said she created the image of a new Rosie for an advanced art class at Fontbonne, a private Roman Catholic college preparatory high school for girls. Among 15 other images created by Fontbonne students were paintings of Magritte’s “The Son of Man” updated with the Apple logo by Tianna Szeto and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” turned into a Starbucks by Sarah Albanese.
“Our assignment was to recreate a classic artwork and put a modern twist to it.” Callahan said recently. “I chose to paint Rosie the Riveter but put her in a US Army suit. . . . My objective was to say that women can now fight in the war.”
The purpose of the original Rosie the Riveter was to publicize the important work women did in World War II wartime factories by taking the place of men serving in the armed forces. Callahan’s artwork put a recognizable Rosie in combat camouflage, substituting a green head scarf for the polka dot one in the original, to fulfill an assignment from art teacher Nicole Robertson.
Callahan said she was happy and “excited” to hear the news earlier this year that the Defense Department had decided to lift the restriction that prevented American women from serving in combat roles.