|War Map Dress Trinity|
Carolyn Wren (St. Catharines, ON)
War Map Dress is an attempt to pay homage to the women who made these original dresses, particularly Mrs. J. Terwen-DeLoos (1910-1973), whose creation I saw at the Rjiksmuseum in Amsterdam. Originally, the silk used for the dresses came from military maps used by pilots. The map I used for Dress War Map was on paper, one made in Europe and shipped to Canada for women to follow the movements of their loved ones fighting in the war.
One of the Second World War's huge effects was on the role women in our society, from having to work in jobs traditionally filled by men, outside of the home, to consuming contemporary, changing fashions once prosperity returned.
The War Map Dress alludes to the landscape in relation to the body on which the large letters of Holland flow across the torso, with the letter '0' resting over the abdomen and navel, echoing the multiple layers of symbolism under the surface. The waterways look like intestines, the roads like veins or arteries, and the print image has become a map of the landscape of the body. The words and roadways lead the viewer's eyes as they travel around the dress, from town to town.
Because the prints are fifth generation images the maps are far from accurate, however, the layered politics behind map making make them about viewpoints and identity. This War Map Dress is about the politics of feminism and is a reflection on war from a female perspective.