The Posters of Discontent II was an exhibition in 2012 featuring the work of 19 political poster designers from 10 countries. Curated by Professor Andrew Maniotes, this exhibition was shown at University Gallery, Eastern Michigan University.
"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." - Albert Einstein, Treasury of the Free World (October 1946)
Like fire and molotovs, politics and poster design go together. Be it campaign, unity, policy enforcement, or protest--political posters leave a visual imprint on history.
This exhibition seeks to examine points of contention in the current sociopolitical arena. Designers from various backgrounds were invited to submit work taking a stand on subjects of their choosing, created within the last four years. As a result, the work showcases multiple and often conflicting viewpoints.
2008-2012 saw a rise of people taking issues to the public arena. Many of those protests can be seen in this exhibition, be it The Little Friends of Printmaking standing up for Union workers in their native Wisconsin, Tim Cramer echoing the message of the Tea Party by portraying the American President as an all powerful villain, Alexander Segert lamenting the perceived danger of Muslim immigration in Switzerland, Jenni Undis referencing Minnesota's soon to be voted on same-sex marriage debate, Evripides Zantides portraying what the Euro means to his native Cyprus or Jason Killinger invoking of the spirit of Occupy Wall Street as he contrasts the prioritization of funding in Philadelphia prisons vs. schools. Despite different ideologies, all the designers in this exhibition shared the same sense of conviction in their beliefs.
Many thanks to my colleagues who encouraged me to put this show together. Gallery Director Gregory Tom and his staff provided expertise in hanging the exhibition. I am also grateful to my loving and supportive wife, Kristy Cooper, for her design collaboration and web development in creating this site.
It is the curator's wish that these visual expressions of conflict act as a foundation to political dialogue. Designers across the political spectrum should take this show as a visual call to arms. Viewers should ask themselves if they agree or disagree with any of these works; then think about it, talk about it, give a crap about it... and create work about it. Do not worry who is "offended", but rather how many will be inspired to think about your views.