Sharing is caring!

By Chris TackettTreehugger

“As a medium for social change, posters record our struggles for peace, social justice, environmental defense, and liberation from oppression.”

That’s the opening line from Elizabeth Resnick’s curator statement about her excellent collection, Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age 2001-2012. Resnick is professor and chair of the graphic design department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. She was generous enough to allow TreeHugger to share some of our favorite posters from the collection. The following designs highlight a number of environmental issues including climate change, food security, and war. The collection will be on display at Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City, July 8 to August 28, 2013.


Curator statement:

“As a medium for social change, posters record our struggles for peace, social justice, environmental defense, and liberation from oppression. From the confrontational and political, to the promotional, persuasive and educational, the poster in all its forms has persisted as a vehicle for the public dissemination of ideas, information and opinion. Posters are dissent made visible—they communicate, advocate, instruct, celebrate, and warn, while jarring us to action with their bold messages and striking iconography. Posters also serve as a telling indication of a graphic designer’s commitment to society when non-commissioned posters are created as vehicles to raise money to support political and humanitarian causes. Without a doubt, the poster remains the most resonant, intrinsic and enduring item in the arsenal of a contemporary graphic designer.”

Jude Landry, USA, 2010

“I personify the oil spill as a sea monster to convey how the Gulf States are in the grips of  dangerous oily octopus, and how these states have put themselves in harm’s way to help  feed America’s need for oil.”

Joe Wirtheim, USA, 2008.

“I consider this one of the most important messages I have made as a designer activist: There is ground all around us that can and should be cultivated. It is in empty city lots, on rooftops, in window boxes, and in other surprising nooks and crannies. While the image is inspired by a 1944 ‘Garden for Victory’ poster, the slogan is something a mentor said to me about creating new art. ‘Even if it is not as good as you hoped,” he said, ‘it is important that you are breaking new ground with your art.’ I hope that the duel meaning is not lost, that ‘new ground’ is both a physical place and the places our imagination has yet to go.”

Leo Lin, Taiwan, 2009

“Increasing temperatures result in rising sea levels with potentially catastrophic consequences for low-lying shore communities. Some island nations will be submerged if the sea level continues to rise.”

Viktor Manuel Barrera, Columbia, 2011

“I wanted to highlight a problem that lingers long after countries have been at war. Planted like seeds of death and mutilation, land mines are indiscriminate, making victims of soldiers and civilians, children and adults. Most people who activate these mines will die, and those who survive often require amputations, leaving an imprint of indelible pain in their minds and bodies.”

Asher Jay, USA, 2010

“I created this poster to mourn the large pods of dolphins that succumbed to the corrosive effect of COREXIT, suffering from severe internal bleeding, skin lesions, burns, and tissue erosion.”

Hilppa Hyrkäs, Finland 2006

Anthony Burrill, UK, 2010

“We screen-printed this poster using oil from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. Proceeds from the sale of the print supported the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring coastal wetlands.”

Related Product: EcoLunchbox Solo Cube – You’ll Never Throw Away Another Plastic Sandwich Bag

David Blaiklock, Australia, 2012

“Within my local community and country, and throughout the world, water use and its abuse are critical issues that remain unresolved. Individually, we may not feel empowered to bring about change; this is my contribution to sharpen community awareness and tip the seesaw of change.”

Beehive Design Collective, USA, 2002

“We had been making graphics about biotechnology and genetic engineering, and wanted to demonstrate how agricultural monocultures are just one piece of the bigger picture of segregation, homogenization, and control of all aspects of our lives and cultures under corporate globalization.”

István Orosz, Hungary, 2006

“Climate change is now the greatest threat to our environment, and theories explaining the root causes point directly to human responsibility. Day by day, I see our ecological footprint grow larger, possibly beyond our control. Though science may suggest other causes in addition to humanity, we have to acknowledge that only humankind can be addressed directly and warned. The poster is a very effective means of sounding the alarm. If you recognize that you have the means to awaken one’s conscience, then you must use it: Global Warning: Global Warming!”

Mark Gowing, Australia, 2006

Ashraf Refaat Elfiky, Egypt, 2011

Lanny Sommese, USA, 2005

“Created for the Hurricane Poster Project, the poster was sold to raise funds to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the city of New Orleans. My image depicts the victims (humans, animals, and vegetation) trapped tenuously together, each vulnerable to the dangers that surround them.”

This article was written by Chris Tackett and published in Treehugger on May 6, 2013.

1 thought on “Art For Advocacy: 13 Posters For Sustainable Social Change”

Comments are closed.

Shopping Cart