Heroes + Sheroes by Corita Kent

3 mins read
Corita Kent art

Her use of vibrant colours, graphic typography featuring social and political movements is so inspiring right now given current events. 


“Between 1968 to 1969, Corita created a series of 29 prints that she identified as “a set of heroes and sheroes.” Produced shortly after she took sabbatical from Immaculate Heart College and subsequently left the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this series manifests a key turning point in Corita’s artistic output. While Corita never directly participated in the radical activities associated with many of her contemporaries of the religious left (figures such as Daniel Berrigan and groups like the Catonsville Nine), her heroes and sheroes works explicitly reflect the social and political movements of the decade, addressing topics such as Chicano awareness, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, and political assassinations while also incorporating imagery taken directly from mass media. Notable figures represented in this series include: Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Robert F. Kennedy, and Cesar Chavez.”


Corita Kent silkscreen

Her DIY sensibility, teaching herself screenprinting, inspired by the pop art movement of the early 1960s, is especially exciting, although she also was influenced by medieval art and abstract expressionism. I am reminded a bit of the Ames Brother’s work at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle when I see her work. 

In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston where her work evolved, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life and battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. She had created almost 800 serigraph editions, thousands of watercolours and many public and private commissions.

A sample of her work “Power Up” is also in Denmark at The Nivaagaard Art Collection through December 20, 2020 which is part of works from the collection of Danh Vo.

To see the series, Heroes + Sheroes online, visit corita.org.

Jan Halvarson

Jan founded Poppytalk in 2005 while a student at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now ECU) to catalogue inspiration from typography to interior design. Since then she’s collaborated with Target (creating a limited edition glamping collection), a wallpaper collection with Milton & King, as well has written as a contributor at Wired, Martha Stewart and Huffington Post.