Cities & Suburbs
Boom & Bust
Theme: Patriotic Duty
Artist: Nora HEYSEN
Title: Transport driver (Aircraftswoman Florence Miles)
Credit Line: Australian War Memorial, Canberra
During the Second World War Nora Heysen was the first of three women to be appointed to the highly coveted position of official war artist. She was expected to concentrate principally on the Women’s service, a constraint she characteristically rebelled against. Her portraits of women, however, were uncompromising in their authority.
In this portrait Heysen combines the heroic with the everyday stoicism of women who just get on with the job. Getting on with the job in 1945 meant that women assumed the roles and responsibilities, which before the Second World War had been the preserve of men.
Florence Miles inspires confidence; she is feminine and strong. Her committed gaze through the windscreen together with the RAAF flag, visible through her window, play like a confident anthem on the road to the allies’ victory.
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