Thursday, October 28, 2010

Poster of the Week

Cobre Chileno/Chilean Copper
Vicente and Antonio Larrea
Offset, 1972
Santiago, Chile
You are the fatherland, the pampa (prairie) and people, sand, clay, school, house, resurrection, fist, offensive, order, parade, attack, wheat , struggle, grandeur, resistance.
On October 13, 2010, the world celebrated the incredible rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,000 feet underground for 69 days in a gold and copper mine near Copiapó a desert city in Northern Chile. For the first 17 days, no one knew if any had survived the mine’s collapse, and the miners were in complete isolation. As much of the world anxiously watched the miner’s harrowing ordeal, few were aware that the mine owners in their generosity did not pay the men's wages while they were trapped underground.*
The joy and relief over their rescue must also not prevent more critical views of the circumstances leading up to the collapse. The San José mine had a history of accidents: over a dozen lives have been lost there in recent years. It became so unsafe in 2007 it had to be closed – but not for long. On July 30, 2010, a Chilean labor department report warned again of “serious safety deficiencies”, but the minister took no action. Six days later, the men were entombed. We should not even be calling it an “accident” when it appears to be a crime caused by negligence and greed. **
As Chilean President Sebastian Piñera hugged each miner as they came out of the narrow escape shaft, it is important to remember how Chilean miners were murdered nearby under the Pinochet dictatorship just decades earlier.
In 1970, Salvador Allende was democratically elected President of Chile, despite active intervention by the United States to thwart his election. On September 11, 1973, Allende was overthrown by a C.I.A. instigated coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Under Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship over 20,000 were killed or disappeared, and an estimated 1,000,000 were in exile following the coup.
On October 17, 1973, just a month after the coup and 37 years before the mine rescue— almost to the day — one of Pinochet’s death squads murdered 16 men in Copiapó, including some copper miners. This same death squad, which came to be called the Caravan of Death, killed more than 70 Chileans suspected of leftist activities that month alone.
CSPG’s Poster of the Week commemorates the period before Pinochet’s coup against Chilean democracy. The text was taken from a poem by Pablo Neruda. Its use on the poster celebrates President Salvador Allende’s nationalization of copper in 1971, Chile’s main export and a national symbol. The poster shows all classes of Chilean society united in the cause — including the soldier who, as representative of the Chilean armed forces, would (with U.S. help) oust Allende and overturn his socialist programs just one year later.
**Not unlike British Petroleum—BP—which has one of the worst safety records of any oil company operating in the U.S. With the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deep Water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history. With a long history of negligence and safety violations, this too should be called a crime, not an accident.
Read More:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Posters of the Week

Modern Electric Chair
Juliano Ijichi Machado

Requiem para los del 3 de mayo
Vladimir Sabillón

Aida Torkamani Asl

It must be stopped
Natalia Lazarashvili

Death is Not Justice*

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics’ Posters-of-the-Week commemorates October 10, 2010, the 8th World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The death penalty is a violation of human rights, and more than two thirds of countries in the world have banned executions. 58 still persist in killing people in the name of “justice.” In 2009, countries with the highest number of executions were Iran (with at least 388 executions), Iraq (at least 120), Saudi Arabia (at least 69), and the United States (52). In China information regarding the death penalty remains a secret, but according to Amnesty International China executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

Recently retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 90, said that the lone vote he regrets in his nearly 35 years on the High Court is one that he cast to restore the death penalty in 1976. **

To educate and inspire people to work against the death penalty, we are featuring some amazing posters produced for Poster for Tomorrow, an independent, non-profit organization based in Paris and founded by Hervé Matine. Matine invited Carol Wells, CSPG’s founding director to be one of 100 online international curators to select the top 100 posters out of several thousand submissions. A live jury then picked the 10 winning posters which can be seen at

The ten winning designs will become part of the permanent collection of nine internationally acclaimed design museums. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics will be the only U.S. institution to receive them. The other museums are:

- Dansk Plakatmuseum, Denmark
- Design Museum Gent, Belgium
- Graphic Design Museum, The Netherlands
- Lahti Poster Museum, Finland
- Les Arts Decoratifs, France
- Museum für Gestaltung, Switzerland
- Wilanow Poster Museum, Poland
- Victoria and Albert Museum, England

Most of the activities of Poster for Tomorrow promote active citizenship through the medium of design. They want to encourage people, both those in and outside the design community, to make posters to stimulate debate in the local and international communities on issues that affect us all.

* The title of the anti-death penalty design organized by Poster for Tomorrow .

**For more on Steven’s thoughts on the death penalty and the interview: