Japanese-Canadian Artist Recreates Rosie the Riveter as a Black Woman with an African Head Wrap

The role of black women’s labor in the creation of American society is often overlooked. As an example, this holiday season many are learning — for the very first time — that black woman mathematicians played a critical role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit Earth. This knowledge comes via the film Hidden Figures, based on the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. It’s telling that this history is not taught in American schools.

Similarly, Rosie the Riveter has come to represent white women who worked in shipyards and factories during World War II, while American men fought overseas. But black women shared in this history, even though their presence was sometimes met with strikes and is overwhelmingly overlooked both culturally and academically.

Today Rosie the Riveter is a white feminist symbol, but Japanese-British-Canadian artist Tim Okamura has reimagined her as a black woman wearing an African head wrap. Tico Armand served as a model for the shoot.


Okamura, who is currently based in Brooklyn, is known for his intricate portraits of black women. He has described his work as “investigating identity, the urban environment and contemporary iconography through a unique method of painting — one that combines an essentially academic approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media.”

The piece is absolutely beautiful.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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