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Protest! - A History of Social and Political Protest Graphics

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Protest! - A History of Social and Political Protest Graphics

Liz McQuiston

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Social discontent and political protest have been expressed visually as well as verbally throughout the ages. Graffiti scribbles on a wall, pictures scattered in the street during marches, posters spread through the environment: all have played their part. For such agitational images represent a power struggle; a rebellion against an established order and a call to arms, or a passionate cry of concern for a cause. The book begins in the 16th century with the Reformation, when images could be produced in multiples. It then travels through decades and centuries of graphics: protesting against the miseries of war; satirising the foibles of royalty, politicians, religions, and society in general; calling for an end to racial discrimination and apartheid; demanding freedom from tyranny and dictatorships; struggling for LGBTQ+ rights; and, finally, attending to 21st-century concerns and Trumpisms. Each chronological chapter opens with a short introduction offering historical and artistic context to the period, followed by a copious and wide-ranging display of powerful protest graphics, grouped together by event or movement. Encompassing an astounding breadth of emotion-from hilarious satire to utter horror-Protest! is a tribute to the liberating concept of hard-won ‘freedom of speech’ throughout history, and which still has agency in current times.

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