WASHINGTON — It’s been 100 years since American women were granted the right to vote. To commemorate this milestone, a massive mosaic of suffragist and civil rights leader, Ida B. Wells, was installed Monday on the floor of Union Station in Washington.
But if you look closely, Wells isn’t the only woman being honored. The portrait is comprised of thousands of historical photos featuring woman who fought for the right for women to vote, according to the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC).
“What we are able to do with this art installation is that we can show the depths of this movement,” Anna Laymon, WSCC Executive Director, told CNN. “It wasn’t just one woman who fought for the right to vote it was thousands.”
The 19th Amendment was ratified Aug. 18, 1920, granting the right for women to vote. It took decades of marching and lobbying by generations of suffrage advocates to get the amendment passed.
The mural, titled “Our Story: Portraits of Change,” was designed by artist Helen Marshall of the People’s Picture, produced by Christina Korp of Purpose Entertainment, and commissioned by the WSCC. The project has been in in the works for the past year, according to Laymon.
“We are so proud to highlight and honor Ida B. Wells as the main subject of the Our Story photo mosaic,” Christina Korp, executive producer of Purpose Entertainment, said in a press release. “Her story as a suffragist, civil rights activist and investigative journalist is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.”
Union Station is an important location for the woman’s suffrage movement. In 1919, it was where suffragists who had been jailed for picketing the White House began their train tour, according to the press release.
It took a team of six people to install the giant 1,000-square-foot mosaic on the floor of the station, according to Korp. It was installed Aug. 24 and will be displayed till Aug. 28.
“We hope this project will inspire the public to learn more about her and countless others featured within the digital interactive mosaic online,” Korp said.
Visitors at Union Station will get a chance to be fully immersed in the art exhibit by walking over and exploring each image.
“In ancient cultures, floor mosaics were in public places and revered and could be studied close up — that’s what we want people to really explore it and see ALL the pictures and even touch them,” Marshall told CNN.
People from all over the world will also be able to experience the artwork online, where they can zoom in on each photo and read stories about some of the women featured.
“I see this artwork as a truly international commemoration, and I hope that many will enjoy seeing it in person and exploring it in its full interactive glory online in the safety of their homes,” Marshall said.
This isn’t the first suffrage art piece that Marshall has designed. In 2018, she created the “Face of Suffrage” floor mural displayed in a railway station in England to celebrate the centenary women’s right to vote in United Kingdom.