"Only a divorced from life man could say an army of women uninteresting."

Morning Parade CWM/MCG 14193

Morning Parade

Beyond the obvious role of woman artist, Pegi Nicol MacLeod saw military service from two points of view: that of women who were left behind, and that of the female participants. She was uniquely placed to contribute valuable insights into a relatively underappreciated aspect of war service. The result is a picture of the war years in North America from a woman's perspective. 

"It is unfair enough to leave out the mothers of soldiers, the nurses, the factory girls. What an obvious flaw to neglect also the women in the armed services."

CWAC Beauty Parlour CWM/MCG 14159 Spoon Bouquet CWM/MCG 14222
CWAC Beauty Parlour Spoon Bouquet

Pegi Nicol MacLeod's war art began with her experience of a military presence in Fredericton, moved through her National Gallery commissions (1944 and 1945), where she observed military service on a daily basis, through to New York, where she lived with women who had seen husbands and sons go off to war. For most of this period, MacLeod lived in poverty, with a young child and a less-than-satisfactory marriage. 

"My work, more than fun. Operating on Wrens now, dear little things!!"

Noon Wrens, Naval Headquarters CWM/MCG 14198 'Cwacereuses' (Happy Girls) CWM/MCG 14161
Noon Wrens, Naval Headquarters 'Cwacerouses' (Happy Girls)


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