During the Second World War, an unprecedented number of women broke away from gender stereotypes to defend democracy and counter the prevalent xenophobia. Breaking away from gender stereotypes and boxed roles, these women displayed an unusual spontaneity and a definite commitment in the fight against the enemy, both in France and other parts of occupied Europe.
Whether in the line of duty or in their boxed roles as mothers, sisters or companions, the historical role played by these resilient women continues to be undervalued, if not largely ignored. The exhibition Femmes en Resistance (Women in Resistance) on view at The Shoah Memorial, Paris (Mémorial de la Shoah) nevertheless seeks to rectify this long absence of women from historical narratives through an exceptional set of archival documents, photographs and artworks. Along with the original graphic novel artworks on display at the exhibition, the portraits of some of these resilient (and now aged) women are particularly poignant.
The exhibition coincides with the latest instalment of French publisher Casterman’s graphic novel series dedicated to the women in resistance during the Second World War and offers a unique opportunity to understand and pay tribute the women’s resistance while simultaneously acknowledging the everlasting vitality and importance of design and art through historical graphic novels.