Monday, 30 May 2011

Posters of hope to tour Spain

SPAIN (El Pais/M.Morales) On January 20, 2009 they saw their dream come true. On that day, they watched Barack Obama be sworn in as 44th President of the United States, and they knew they had contributed something to that: they'd made the posters supporting the candidate who would go on to be the first black leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. Months later, filmmaker Spike Lee and graphic designer Aaron Perry-Zucker selected the 151 posters they liked best; 80 of them are now part of an exhibition called Design for Obama. The traveling show will stop in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Las Palmas, Zaragoza, Málaga, Oviedo and Murcia. The exhibition, which is organized by the US Embassy in Spain and the art school Escuela de Arte 10 in Barcelona -where the posters are on display->features work by designers and individuals who were willing to let others reprint their art in the hopes of filling the streets with pro-Obama ensigns. The work on display shows a profusion of Obama faces, plays on his surname, comparisons with Martin Luther King and a constant use of the words hope and change.
The director of Escuela de Arte 10, Eugenio Vega, explains that during the 2008 presidential campaign, a group of US designers created the website, which allowed anyone to upload a poster and download other people's work in a variety of sizes. Most submissions came from the United States, though some came from Europe (none from Spain, however).

In all, around 300 posters were uploaded on the site, and visitors voted their favorites. Vega notes that in order to spread their political message, "they combined something as traditional as poster art with social networking." The Democratic Party also used a few of those posters for their campaign.

Vega also underscored the daring nature of some of these banners. In one, Obama is portrayed as a star of the NBA, afro hairstyle included. In another, he is dressed like Superman. "In Spain everything is more serious during campaigning; the candidates are not so close to the people. It is precisely initiatives like Design for Obama that makes them more human," says Vega.

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