Artists Create Protest Art for Inauguration Day

January 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |



After hearing that big signs and banners will be restricted on Inauguration Day, artists Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena, and Jessica Sabogal launched “We the People.” This campaign has created full-page protest art which will run as newspaper ads in the Washington Post and also will be distributed at demonstrations on January 20 and through the weekend. Launched on Kickstarter on Tuesday, January 17, “We the People” has already raised more than $1 million.

Fairey, known for his Obama “Hope” poster, has made three works in the same graphic style: a Muslim woman wearing an American flag as a head scarf; a Latino woman with a flower in her hair; and an African-American kid—and the text below reads: “We the People,” “Are greater than fear,” “defend dignity,” and “protect each other.” Colombian American muralist Sabogal created an image of two women about to embrace with the words “We the indivisible” across the bottom. An image by Yerena, a Los Angeles-based artist, shows a Native American man with his arm raised in defiance and the words “We the resilient have been here before.” In an interview on PBS Newshour, Fairey said:

We came to a conclusion as a group that in the language [for these posters] we want to say, “We reject fear-mongering and exclusion.” But we also wanted to do it in a way that doesn’t leave the door open for the Fox News type to say, “This is reverse racism”....

It’s hard to encapsulate the complexity of what we’re facing, going into this Trump presidency, in three images. But we chose three groups that are vulnerable. In the history of the U.S., there are a lot of people who fled persecution from Europe on the basis of religious identities. The idea of championing the ideals of our forefathers and then limiting the movement of Muslims—it’s so confounding that this is not riling more people up. And so it’s really time to do some [work] that I think is a counterargument to that, and that’s not based on division but based on inclusion. We’ve seen where division has got us.

See the posters and read the PBS interview with Fairey here.



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