Amid the tensions of the cold war era in the 1970's, a group of young people responded to the violent colonial wars abroad and repression at home by working together to create hand-printed oppositional posters used in numerous campaigns and educational contexts. The collective members created these posters on a voluntary basis, whilst squatting in various buildings until this was no longer possible. A book has now been designed to document the posters and tell the story of our attempt to create a critical viewpoint of both past events and those of the day.
“For the last 30 years almost 250 laminated posters have been stored and preserved in boxes under my bed. Several times, I attempted to donate them to museums but failed because of the lamination. 10 years ago, I archived most of them onto a website but knew they should be documented in a way that would make them accessible for current and future generations. Jane (my daughter) suggested making a book to document the collective’s work. She has since collaborated on the editing, structuring and reading of the material.
For over 2 years, Levi Lawrence and Luca Barbieri also worked consistently on the project. Levi (a photographer) took batches of the laminated posters each week and scanned almost 200 of them. Luca (a graphic designer) worked to get the book print ready. These extraordinary young people worked with me for more than 2 years without remuneration or recognition. Other young people have also given support by taking printed sets of our history posters away to show around (see photos on next page). We have organized, captioned, and ordered the posters so that they make sense in the book. The text - placing the posters in context - has been written and edited and members of the collective have contributed personal stories of the period.
Finally, a video was made to explain the project and this fundraising site to make the printing possible. This book has been created because many people, including young people, believe the posters need to be documented in physical form. There have been many times in the process where I was ready to give up on the book and was even advised to put all the posters that have invaded my house for all these years on a skip! But despite the endless hours of work and the painful process, the book is now complete and ready to print. The original 200 laminated posters have finally been donated to the Marx Memorial Library in London, and will be exhibited to the public along with the book launch.”
Chris Halsall (original member of the poster collective).
"ART AS A MASS POLITICAL WEAPON"
THE POSTER COLLECTIVE 1972-82