King artist celebrates female empowerment

By: Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
A King Township artist’s work is part of the charge, improving awareness for our province’s “sheroes.”
Schomberg’s Giovannina Colalillo has applied her talents to promotional art for the Ontario Federation of Labour.
The OFL’s March 8 Project has been supporting women’s organizations across Ontario as they rise, resist, and organize for equality across our province.
This year, as the project enters its 11th year, they are honouring this work with the theme: “Sheroes Persist.”
According to the organization, it has been an unprecedented past year for everyone around the globe, especially women, who are predominantly front-line workers, and the proverbial grease in more economic engines.
The image includes a fist, which represents fighting for the rights of women from all backgrounds. The rose represents the rise from a special poem during the suffrage movement.
“Bread and Roses” is a political slogan as well as the name of an associated poem and song. It originated from a speech given by American women’s suffrage activist Helen Todd. A line in that speech about “bread for all, and roses too,” inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim.
The poem was first published in The American Magazine in December 1911.
The phrase is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, between January and March 1912, now often referred to as the “Bread and Roses strike.” The slogan pairing bread and roses, appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions, found resonance as transcending “the sometimes tedious struggles for marginal economic advances” in the “light of labor struggles as based on striving for dignity and respect,” as Robert J. S. Ross wrote in 2013.
“I have incorporated a rose in all the posters and pin for the past 11 years. Its like finding Waldo.”
She said she’s thrilled with the outcome.
“I love working with the Ontario Federation for 11 years,” she said.
The reaction so far has been very positive and the images will be released for the International Women’s Day celebrations.
Her work also contains something more, a poignant message.
“As an illustrator, I create images that deliver a message. I use my art medium to convey messages that are important to me such as anti-racism, women rights, etc.”
Colalillo pointed out she recently refused a big illustration project for a vaping company owned by a huge U.S. tobacco company, because she believes these products are not good for one’s health and that they aim their advertising towards young people.
“My illustration designs would have had cancer causing health warnings across the top of them. My mother died of cancer at a young age.”
Colalillo is continually quoting on various freelance illustration and design projects. She recently quoted on an book illustration project.
For more, visit her website at or email