Feminist Vigilante Artist Stephanie Rudig Honors Female Congress Reps in ‘She-Span’ Street Art Project
Our nation’s capital is known for its artistic monuments to such great leaders as Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson. But recently, thanks to a street art project by graphic designer Stephanie Rudig, the city has also become home to artistic tributes to the country’s under-sung female politicians.
Titled “She-Span,” the series began in 2013, in honor of the unprecedented number of women who were sworn in that year to the 113th Congress. Despite setting the record, women only made up 18.5 percent of Congress.
“I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by that number,” said Rudig to the Huffington Post. “I wanted to put a positive spin on the issue, and focus on the women in Congress who have worked so hard to get to where they are.”
As a result of the project, Rudig has been pegged a “feminist vigilante artist” by Mic—a label she is happy to embrace. “I really do need to get that printed on my business cards,” the artist joked. “It has a better ring to it than ‘artist and designer.'”
While street art is often politically-inspired, Rudig’s work certainly carries more weight than other politician-based series, such as “Politicians as Cats.”
Each female senator and representative, from Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), is immortalized in simple black-and-white pointillist portraits, which have been installed on a street named after the home state of the representative. A graphic designer for National Geographic Kids by day, Rudig has never done a large-scale street art project before.
“I hope that by coming across these portraits, people might see a more personal, human side to the issue,” Rudig told Mic. “I also hope that it serves as a sort of time capsule for a very tumultuous election season and congressional session, which I see as a touchstone in the ongoing struggle for women’s equality.”
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