We will be holding an exhibition focusing on the role of women during World War Two featuring posters issued by both Allied and Axis powers, in particular the UK, USA, USSR and some Nazi-occupied countries. Fighting On All Fronts: Women At War will be held at our gallery from International Women’s Day to Victory Day (8 March to 9 May).
Labour shortages on the home front during WWII led to dramatic changes to the role of women in society. Jobs in factories, agriculture, nursing and other vital military and civilian industries that were previously seen as occupations mainly for men were now opened up to women. Posters played a big part in the publicity campaigns, using patriotic appeal to encourage women to help win the war and secure victory by joining the workforce.
This exhibition will show how poster design and visual messaging varied in the different countries depending on the impact of war on the population and the roles of women in the conflict. Although they replaced men in the war production in all countries, women’s day-to-day realities were very different.
One of the first countries to declare war on Nazi Germany, Britain suffered extensive bombing during the Blitz, as well as food shortages and rationing. The duties of women concentrated on providing support to the troops, handling war logistics and health and safety measures. The imagery of British posters emphasises practical efforts rather than damage and destruction; the presence of the enemy is felt but not witnessed.
In contrast, the Soviet Union was partially occupied by Nazi troops and its population experienced war and violence first-hand. Women were engaged in battle, abused by the occupants, and subjected to bombing and severe food shortages. Reflecting this reality, the poster messaging is explicit, often violent and brutal, and women are depicted directly fighting the enemy.
In America daily life during the war was mostly affected by the rationing of food, gasoline, tyre and nylon stockings. The poster designs are often stylish and glamorous, elevating participation in the war effort.
The exhibition is free and will be open during our gallery opening hours. Our virtual exhibition is available to view on Kunstmatrix and ArtSteps, and our guest talks will be also available to watch online following the events. More information and features will be posted on our website and social media in the lead up to, and during, the exhibition.
Read more in our exhibition catalogue featuring the posters on display with a foreword by Hugh Cullimore, Art Historian and former poster specialist at the Australian War Memorial. The catalogue is available to view online and printed copies can be purchased at our gallery and on our website (with worldwide delivery).
Our souvenir mugs for this exhibition are also available to purchase online (with worldwide delivery) and at our gallery.
Programme of Events & Talks
Places are limited. Click the images or eventbrite links to book your tickets:
Tuesday 8 March – Opening Day: our gallery will be open until 8pm.
Thursday 10 March – UAL Post-Grad Community Mixer.
30 March – Hidden Stories of Women in WWII: Kate Clements, curator of the new Second World War Galleries at the Imperial War Museum, will give a talk on untold stories using first-hand testimonies from veterans, eyewitnesses and survivors. Details and
tickets SOLD OUT (in support of Salute Her) at: www.eventbrite.co.uk
20 April – Preserving the Past for the Future: Talk by David Hill, the founder of the London Clandestine Warfare Collection, on SOE (Special Operations Executive) women agents, including its mission, what women agents did and their spy gadgets. Details and tickets at: www.eventbrite.co.uk
27 April – Wartime Women The Khaki Cabaret: The actress and singer Fiona-Jane Weston will present a performance that plays homage to the courageous women of wartime Britain, an affectionate tribute with song, poetry and personal accounts from real women of the time. Details and tickets at: www.eventbrite.co.uk
7 May – Women’s Royal Air Force: Talk by Tracey Watson and JJ Adams on the roles of women serving in the Royal Air Force, including the full integration of WRAF to the RAF, serving during the Cold War in Berlin, and the challenges in adapting to civilian life. Details and tickets (in support of WAAFA) at: www.eventbrite.co.uk
☆ In The News: Event Listings + Features ☆
Click on the publication and website links to read more:
• Inside History magazine: “Fantastic exhibition coming to @AntikBar focusing on Women At War. Find out more here www.insidehistorymagazine.co.uk“
• Ian Visits event news: www.ianvisits.co.uk
• Londonist: 52 Magnificent Things to do in London in March 2022 www.londonist.com
• Afisha London magazine (Russian/English): www.afisha.london/en
• International Women’s Day: www.internationalwomensday.com
• Seb’s Art List: www.sebsartlist.com
• Kommersant news (Russian): www.kommersant.uk
• Design My Night: www.designmynight.com
• Londonist: Where to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 in London www.londonist.com
• KCAW London newsletter: Captivating Art www.kcaw.co.uk
“International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world…” Read more in this week’s Antiques Trade Gazette (p32 issue 2532) featuring our Women At War exhibition
“In another successful Post-Grad Community Mixer, students from across UAL gathered at AntikBar: a small gallery and auction house dedicated to the collection, selling and restoration of original vintage posters. The exhibition is a historical and artistic focus on the role of women during World War Two…” Read the review by Marina Tasca in the UAL Newsletter
AntikBar – Original Vintage Posters
404 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0LJ
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AntikBar is a Member of the International Vintage Poster Dealers’ Association (IVPDA), King’s Road Curve and The Association of Art and Antiques Dealers (LAPADA).