Brave Viola

This blog tracks the origin & evolution of Jo Napier’s June 2011 art exhibit/portrait series honoring “The Nova Scotia Nine- Great Women of N.S.

Viola Desmond is such an interesting story: forcibly removed from an N.S. movie theatre for refusing to give up her seat, Viola helped spark Canada’s civil rights movement – a good decade before Rosa Parks rose to prominence.

Viola Desmond - Canadian Hero

Viola Desmond 1914 - 1965

Viola’s sister Wanda tells me Viola acted – simply because it was the right thing to do, and because her inherent sense of self respect and dignity just wouldn’t allow her to be swept back by ignorance and stupidity.

A few details: she refused to give up a main-floor seat in a movie theatre and switch up for one in then so-called “nigger heaven” – ie the movie theatre’s balcony. (Since I first spoke with Wanda, Viola Desmond has since gained a lot of exposure – and an official apology from the Nova Scotia government – much thanks to Wanda’s efforts.)

“The photo you are using (to create Viola’s portrait),”” Wanda told me recently, “”was one she had done for her product labels”,”

“We don’t know who the photographer was, but we have copies of it and have given permission to someone else to use the photo. We see no problem in using it.”

Thanks Wanda. In case you’re interested, here’s a sneak peak, thus far, of “Brave Viola”!

Pop Portrait of Viola Desmond


One Response

  1. […] *the painting of Viola featured here was created by artist Jo Napier. […]

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