SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Susan Buell will join renowned artist Judy Taylor of Tremont for a discussion of a mural painted by Ms. Taylor for the Maine Department of Labor which was the subject of controversy in 2011 after it was ordered removed by Gov. Paul LePage.
The talk is set for Thursday, March 29 beginning at 6 p.m., and is the last event of Women’s History Month celebrations at the Southwest Harbor Public Library.
Ms. Taylor was chosen from a field of 100 artists to create the mural. In 2008, as it neared completion, deputy commissioner of labor Jane Gilbert said, “I have a real sense that this is going to be a very important piece of art in the long haul, and it is going to be an accurate depiction of organized labor’s role in the history of Maine.”
Less than three years later, Gov. LePage ordered it removed, saying, “I’m trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally, neutrally and on balance,” he said. “The mural sends a message that we’re one-sided, and I don’t want to send that message.”
The removal made headlines nationwide and sparked protests in Maine.
At the time Ms. Taylor said, “Like many of the people of Maine, I want to see the mural displayed publicly as it was originally intended. I want people to see it and connect to Maine’s labor history. The purpose of the mural is historical, the artistic intent to honor. It belongs to the people of Maine and needs to be accessible to them.”
Of particular note in the talk will be three panels of the 11-panel work that depict the experience of Maine women: the 1937 French-Canadian immigrant women in the Lewiston Shoe Strike; the work of “Rosie the Riveters” at the Bath Ironworks; and Frances Perkins, FDR’s Labor Secretary and mother of much of the New Deal legislation including child labor laws, minimum wage laws, the 40-hour work week, worker safety, and Social Security.
Framed reproductions of the murals can be seen at the library as part of the Women’s History Month art show that runs to the end of March.
For more information, call the library at 244-7065 or visit www.swharbor.lib.me.us, or visit Ms. Taylor’s website, judytaylorstudio.com.
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