We’re not just against, we’re for!
Spotted somwhere in the 18th arrondissement.
Spotted at North 7th street and Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
Taring Padi in Bahasa Indonesia refers to the sharp tip, or “teeth,” of the rice plant. For the members of the Taring Padi Artists collective it is a metaphor for people power.
Fragments of the old Taring Padi Web site live on in the Internet Archive:
“taring padi is an independent non-profit cultural community which is based on the concept people’s culture. taring padi is committed to using its artistic and cultural pursuits to contribute actively to the democratisation process in indonesia and elsewhere. taring padi will continue to struggle for social justice and liberation from oppression for all peoples, and the environment.”
The collective creates posters and murals, publishes a newsletter, and participates in street performance with puppets, poetry, and musical groups.
From Inside Indonesia:
“Yogyakarta [a city in central Java] is renowned historically as a centre for radical cultural protest, particularly in the visual arts. Radical Yogya artists have embraced anti-colonial and revolutionary causes since early in the twentieth century. Like their predecessors, Taring Padi artists promote the concept of people’s art - seni kerakyatan — a loose term that defines the artist’s social commitment and popular orientation. Taring Padi attempt to put this credo into practise through concrete action, rather than just aesthetic empathy for the plight of the ‘oppressed masses.’
Mainstream art, the conventional system of curators, galleries and art collectors, is something Taring Padi avoid. Rather, they cultivate relations with other progressive organisations including students, farmers, and the urban poor. Such was the case for the World Food Day action, when Taring Padi collaborated with Mbah Seko and his group of organic farmers called Petani Lestari (Conservation Farmers), as well as with activists from the environmental non-government organisation Keliling. At the demonstration, activists shared out the protest wayangamong themselves. The cast of wayang figures symbolised the various ‘actors’ involved in the pesticide ‘drama’....
In the period before the June 1999 elections, a number of Indonesian cities experienced heightened unrest. Political commentators predicted ‘civil war,’ and the media fuelled the volatile pre-election atmosphere by nurturing perceived religious, ethnic and racial tensions. As a response, Taring Padi began to produce a series of woodcut posters which carried messages promoting solidarity and peaceful social interrelations. Between March and June 1999, they distributed approximately 10,000 woodcut posters throughout major cities in Java, Sumatra and South Sulawesi. The woodcuts, hand-printed on draft paper, were pasted on city streets, on churches and mosques, on village notice boards, in food stalls, in market places.
Among their other artwork, Taring Padi issue a popular pamphlet called The People’s Trumpet. A series of banners and murals resemble the work of Mexican muralist Diego Riviera. Taring Padi banners are often commissioned by other organisations. The women’s division of the National Human Rights Commission ordered a series of them. Titled The evacuation, the banners depict the harsh realities of the refugee crisis in Aceh by focusing on women’s daily struggles.
But Taring Padi also use banners and murals for community purposes, and invite local people to be part of the painting process. Taring Padi’s creative ethos involves a collective, process-oriented production of artwork. They want to eliminate illusive notions of the artist as ‘genius’ or ‘eccentric’ individual, and of the artwork as somehow ‘sacred.’ Taring Padi artwork does not carry recognition of the ‘individual’ artistic creator. It is stamped instead with the Taring Padi ‘kerakyatan’ insignia — a sprig of rice, red star and cogwheel.”
Five sisters are defying intimidation, calling for justice for the murder of their brother and “what is widely seen as a subsequent I.R.A. cover-up.”
As part of the effort, they are posting graphics in the street, both a rallying cry and public defiance of a sector of the community who would silence dissent in the name of the cause.
“Many Catholics in the McCartneys’ neighborhood, a battle-scarred area called the Short Strand, have responded with surprising solidarity.
On the day of the funeral for Mr. McCartney, a popular 33-year-old fork lift operator with two young sons, a thousand people turned up. Graffiti denouncing the I.R.A. popped up on walls, a first in a republican neighborhood; the markings were quickly erased, but quickly reappeared. Small photocopied posters with Mr. McCartney’s photograph appeared on shop windows. ‘No More Lies,’ one said. ‘Shame on Them,’ said another.
Last Sunday, the women held a rally in the neighborhood. Hundreds showed up, including politicians, and several speakers expressed outrage. The sisters held placards that read, ‘Murdered - Who’s Next?’
‘If these men walk free from this, then everyone in Ireland should fear the consequences,’ Paula McCartney, 40, a Queen’s University student, told the crowd, according to news reports. ‘Justice must be done.’”
It is a kind of grassroots resistance to the established resistance, adding further stigma to the violent tactics — from the constituency such tactics are theoretically supposed to benefit.
Still, one has to wonder about the sudden interest of the NY Times in such resistance. The Times is so rarely sympathetic to such activities by left-wing groups. Is it simply the hypocrisy of a righteous group acting less than righteously? Or there another agenda at work? While the I.R.A. may indeed have turned to thuggery (they wouldn’t be the first armed resistance to do so) I suspect a kind of arrogant Statism at play, the sisters provide a convenient proxy to bash those pesky agitators.
“Diseño para la solidaridad / Design for solidarity
From the 8th to the 11th of March, Madrid welcomes an international summit on ‘Democracy and Terrorism,’ in honor of the first anniversary of 11M. We would like to take advantage of this international event so that designers from different countries and cultures contribute their views and personal opinions regarding this subject. We have created a virtual gallery and would like to display in different spaces throughout the city with all the works that we receive.
This is a project for the creation and free distribution of graphic material against terrorism and supporting the victims, on the first anniversary of the 11M terrorist attack in Madrid.
This project intends to be a public design forum for the creation of images that express points of view on terrorism and promote public debate.
Bad news/ design for solidarity wants to be a symbol for democratic response and citizen participation, on behalf of designers, against terrorism on the first anniversary of the 11M.
The project is conceived as a space that is open to designers all over the world and comes forth parallel to the conference on "Democracy and Terrorism" that will be celebrated in Madrid in February of 2005.
Bad News/ Design for Solidarity hopes to be a symbol for international solidarity against terrorism. For this we need for you to contribute with your creativity and talent.”
When I received the first email about this, I was skeptical. Posters denouncing terrorism because it’s bad? Isn’t that the method of terrorism?
But when I received the second email I took another look. The inclusion of Reza Alavi’s ‘New Iraqis Flag’ and a poster linking war with Wall Street points towards a more interesting analysis of the subject. And promoting public discussion seems like a good way to go.
Submission details and a current gallery of posters are up at http://unmundofeliz.org.
A public conversation on Bowery and 4th Street.
“Carlos Cortez was an extraordinary artist, poet, printmaker, photographer, songwriter and lifelong political activist. His mother was a German socialist pacifist, and his father was a Mexican Indian organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies. Carlos was a Wobblie until he died. He spent two years in prison for refusing to “shoot at fellow draftees” during World War II.
After his release, Carlos took a series of jobs: in construction, in a small imported foods shop, in a chemical factory. He also started drawing cartoons in 1948 for the Industrial Worker, the IWW newspaper, but soon learned to do linoleum block prints.
‘Many radical papers—not having advertising, grants or angels who are rich radicals—operate on the brink of bankruptcy. So Industrial Worker couldn’t afford to make electric plates out of line drawings. I saw that one of the old-timers was doing linoleum blocks and sending them in because the paper was being printed on a flatbed press. I started doing the same thing, and each issue would have one of my linocuts.’
When the price of linoleum became too steep, Carlos started using wood. Used furniture was easy enough to find in any alley. ‘There’s a work of art waiting to be liberated inside every chunk of wood. I’m paying homage to the tree that was chopped down by making this piece of wood communicate something.’ Carlos later became an accomplished oil and acrylic painter, though he always preferred the woodcuts because they were reproducible and affordable.
When the Industrial Worker switched to offset in the 1960s, Carlos began drawing pen-and-ink cartoons. He has also served as editor of the newspaper and on the union’s General Executive Board, and was one of the IWW’s most popular public speakers. In 1985, to commemorate the union’s 80th anniversary, he organized an important exhibition, ‘Wobbly: 80 Years of Rebel Art,’ featuring original works by many IWW cartoonists. Carlos was probably the only IWW artist whose work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His art is exhibited throughout the United States, Europe and Mexico.
In the 1960s, Carlos married Marianna Drogitis, and in 1965 they moved to Chicago where he became involved with the local Mexican and Chicano mural movement.
‘I’ve always identified myself as a Mexican. I guess this was a result of my early years in grammar school. Even though I resembled my German mother more than my Mexican father, being the only Mexican in a school full of whites made me mighty soon realize who I was. But it was my German mother who started my Mexican consciousness. She said, “Son, don’t let the children at school call you a foreigner. Through your father you are Indian, and that makes you more American than any of them.”’
Inspired above all by the work of José Guadalupe Posada, printmaker of the Mexican Revolution, and the German expressionist Käthe Kollwitz, Carlos blends the techniques and styles of the German expressionists with themes from the ancient Aztecs and modern Chicanos. He made countless images support striking workers, from miners in Bolivia to farm workers in California, though he is best known for large linocut poster-portraits of activists and labor organizers such as Joe Hill, Ricardo Flores Magón, Lucy Parsons and Ben Fletcher.
‘After some 40 years of construction labor, record salesman, bookseller, factory stiff and janitor, I no longer punch a clock for some employer and have entered the most productive phase of my life where I do what I want to do and not what some employer wants me to do for him... As I keep working out ideas, I keep getting more ideas. So I’m going to go out kicking and screaming.’
He passed away last month in Chicago at age 81.
CSPG has posted a couple of images.
In 1965, Lorraine Schneider, an activist and mother, created the original art for “War is Not Healthy.” She entered the 4" by 4" print into a design contest. Her image was seen as too simplistic and did not win.
In an introduction to a book of Schneider’s art work, Barbara Avedon wrote:
“On February 8, 1967, fifteen friends met at our house to discuss ‘doing something’ about the war in Vietnam. We wanted to do something that would communicate our horror and disgust to our elected representatives in one concerted action. We were not ‘bearded sandaled youths,’ ‘wild-eyed radicals’ or dyed in the wool ‘old line freedom fighters’ and we wanted the Congress to know that they were dealing with an awakening and enraged middle class — voters, precinct workers, contributors. We decided to send a Mother’s Day card to Washington. We would print and distribute one thousand — one thousand letters of protest that said in a very ladylike fashion:
For my Mother’s Day gift of this year,
I don’t want candy or flowers.
I want an end to killing.
We who have given life
must be dedicated to preserving it.
Please talk peace.
Lorraine had given our family an etching of ‘Primer’ some months prior to that meeting. Its eloquent, irrefutable, sunflower truth said it all for us. I called Lorraine and asked if we could use ‘Primer’ on the face of the card. She said, yes, and one thousand became two hundred thousand cards. And because of her genius Another Mother for Peace was born.” [source]
Another Mother for Peace was founded to “educate women to take an active role in eliminating war as a means of solving disputes between nations, people and ideologies.”
The overwhelming success of the Mother’s Day card led to the creation of the AMP newsletter, filled with anti-war editorial and reports on the stances of lawmakers on issues related to war and peace. Each newsletter contained a number of action items called ‘Peace Homework’ that encouraged readers to make their voices heard by organizing, educating and communicating with other citizens and their elected representatives.
Thirty-six years later, concerned about the human costs of America’s “war on terror” Joshua Avedon, Barbara Avedon’s son, and Carol Schneider, Lorraine Schneider’s daughter, began to consider — separately — how to revive AMP.
Schneider’s image has become an international icon for the anti-war movement. Supporters of Another Mother for Peace display the image around the world. A simple yet powerful statement of conscience, the sunflower logo helped make Another Mother for Peace a visible anti-war voice.
In cooperation with Another Mother for Peace, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics has reproduced the War is Not Healthy poster, the first edition available since the Viet Nam War. Stickers, pins, and other materials are avaialble from Another Mother for Peace.
The Celebrate People’s History poster series is a series of linocut and silkscreen prints on important moments in ‘people’s history:’
“These are events, groups, and individuals that we should celebrate because of their importance in the struggle for social justice and freedom, but are instead buried or erased by dominant history. Posters celebrate important acts of resistance, those who fought tirelessly for justice and truth, and the days on which we can claim victories for the forces of freedom. In the past 5 years over a dozen posters have been produced on a variety of subjects, from the Battle of Homestead to Fred Hampton, Malcolm X to Jane, an underground abortion collective.”
The posters appear in storefront windows, homes, and classrooms, and are wheatpasted by street teams to public spaces around the U.S.
Nearly seven years old, the project has also created a loose network of artists interested in creating radical public art and showcasing the work of unknown artists who want to create art that is functional, carries a social message, “and doesn’t get buried at the bottom of the heap of the capitalist ‘art world.’”
The project is always looking for new artists to design posters, so if you or anyone you know might be interested, just get in touch.
See also this post on the Northland Poster Collective Posterfolio.
“Iraqi policemen burn election posters of Interim Prime Minister Allawi, as they rally through the streets of Najaf, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Monday, Jan. 17, 2005. Policemen demanded their salaries for last several months. (AP Photo/Alla al-Marjani)”
How quickly propaganda is turned on itself.