Apayuq Moore, (b. 1984)
We Can Do It, 2014
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the Anchorage Museum, Rasmuson Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 2014.7.1
In this painting, Yup’ik artist Apayuq Moore casts Indigenous leader and civil rights legend Elizabeth Peratrovich in the role of “Rosie the Riveter.” The original Rosie the Riveter print was popular during World War II for the way it upended stereotypes and showed women contributing to the war effort. Elizabeth Peratrovich was a Tlingit civil rights leader and her impassioned testimony and activism played a key role in getting the first racial anti-discrimination law in the United States passed by the territorial legislature in 1945.
Moore uses the symbolism of Rosie and Peratrovich to advocate against the industrialization of Bristol Bay. The artist makes an analogy between the fight to protect salmon and their habitat and the work of earlier generations who advocated for women’s and Indigenous rights.