Missing Fingers, Missing Freedom: Protest Posters 2 Competition Entries

Thanks to the internet and technology, activism has soared and protest material from all around the world is shared everyday. We received some of the most stunning protest posters during our Protest Posters 2 competition, and this final batch of new entries are especially impressive.

Designed by Turkish designer Begum Gucuk, “terrorism” (above, left) is a very powerful image that perfectly highlights the threat to peace caused by terrorism. Gucuk says that the piece is “a social awareness work about terrorism, the tragic effect of terrorism on humanity, and the global struggle for peace.” The poster shows two fingers held up in a peace sign being blown apart by a bullet, calling attention to how all efforts to establish peace and unity across the globe are shattered at every turn by terrorists.

The poster is gritty and slightly cloudy, conveying an overall sense of gloom, and the white background accentuates the redness of the blood, with the explosion-like splatter a nice call to not only the violent mess that terrorism makes, but the constant explosions and chaos that happen when combatting terrorism. Gucuk’s decision to also make the poster quite graphic is a great way to highlight the brutality of terrorism. It is truly a global struggle, as the U.S. has seen a recent rise in extremist and terrorist groups.

Graphis Masters Toshiaki and Hisa Ide make an important and pressing statement about the U.S. political divide with “Divided We Fall” (above, right). The use of red and blue are an on-the-nose reference to the divide between Democrats and Republicans. The famous American motto of “United We Stand” is juxtaposed with the phrase “Divided we Fall,” highlighting that the very principle the country values the most is fading away, which is creating hostile conflicts that directly threaten the unity of the government and its people. 

The image was constructed by laying out the words, shredding them, then placing them back together to be photographed. The duo say that the motivation behind the poster is to “communicate the need for the U.S.A. to unite beyond the Republican-Democratic divide.” This idea is a great way to convey that while American unity is tearing apart, there’s still a chance to come back together. 

Solidarity”, designed by Justin Zhang, was included in the School of Visual Arts Galleries exhibit “In Solidarity: SVA Celebrates Its Asian and Asian American Communities.” The image is of interconnected circles, all different colors and sizes, that is a metaphor for the diversity within Asian communities and the fusion of culture. Zhang explains: “Within Asian communities, there are many different cultural groups, they are like independent circles that influence each other and support each other. When different cultures meet, new cultures form. I am trying to use this poster to initiate the solidarity of Asian Communities.”

The poster also includes “#StopAsianHate” at the bottom, bringing attention to the recent and ever-expanding social movement. Zhang describes the piece as “abstract … [using] simple but powerful graphics to express the concept. The circles in different colors are closely intertwined, beautiful, and abstract without losing any concept in them.” Zhang simply but artistically highlights and appreciates the diversity within the Asian community while also showing support to a movement hoping to establish equality and acceptance. 

Lastly, Taiwanese designer Lin Hung Chang’s poster “Regeneration” (above, right) brings awareness to environmental issues. Much like Gucuk’s poster, the white background does a great job of highlighting the main image. A flower is presented, its petals made of overlapping plastic bag, drawing a parallel to the dangers of plastic pollution rampant around the globe.

The long stem of the flower resembles a tree trunk, calling back to another enviromental issue, deforestation, which leaves many different species of animals homeless and contributes to climate change. The simple phrase “Life Cannot Be Replaced” is an impactful and factual statement that the damage we cause the Earth affects all levels of life. It expertly expresses how changes are needed to prevent any further loss, as our behaviors can be replaced but not living things.

Everyone needs a reminder of issues happening around the world, and protest posters are a valuable way to appreciate art while engaging in discourse about what roles we can play in helping each other and the environment. 

The Protest Posters 2 competition closes tomorrow at midnight, so visit graphis.com and submit you work now!

Author: Graphis

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