Thursday, 3 July 2014

A tale of three political images.......

An artist created this poster in 1977:

Michael Callaghan was raised in Wollongong, graduated from National Art School, Sydney in 1974.
He became involved in printmaking through Earthworks Poster Collective, during his time as a tutor of Post Object Art at Tin Sheds at University of Sydney. Compelled by a spirit of collectivism, Earthworks produced some of the most iconic images of political activism in the 1970s, including ‘Give Frazer the Razor’.
In 1979 he set up Redback Graphix during a residency at Griffith University in Brisbane, creating an ‘alternative design agency’, turning collective political activism into an enterprise that enabled artists to earn a living while using their skills and political edge.
The first artwork Callaghan made at Redback is possibly the most recognisable poster image in contemporary Australia – If the Unemployed Are Dole Bludgers, What the Fuck are the Idle Rich?
Using the same signature bold florescent graphics and punchy humour, the Redback workshop created campaigns throughout the 80s and 90s that tackled issues ranging from unemployment, trade union issues, AIDS awareness to indigenous health and for clients that included Amnesty International and CAAMA and the ACTU.
His work is held in numerous public and private collections in Australia and overseas including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Wollongong Collection, Mitchell Library Collection, and the Powerhouse Museum. [Damien Minton Gallery]

In 1981 a student newspaper printed this:
[Australian National University, Woroni, 22 April 1981]

Chanting "Give Fraser the razor, not women's refuges", about 50 women and children from Canberra and Sydney, representing NSW women's refuges, assembled to protest against possible cuts to child-care grants to the refuges.
[The Canberra Times, 15 May 1981, p.3]

Tertiary students from the ACT, NSW and Victoria demonstrated outside Parliament House yesterday over proposed Government cuts in education funding.
The students, estimated by some of the demonstration organisers to number between 1,500 and 2,000, assembled at the ANU and marched, with a police escort, to Parliament House carrying banners and placards and shouting "Free education for all", "Not just the rich, educate the poor", and "Give Fraser the razor". .
[The Canberra Times, 14 May 1981, p.9]

In 2014 a socialist newspaper created this front page:

The Socialist Alternative has withdrawn its newspapers featuring a violent image depicting Tony Abbott getting his throat cut following a public backlash.
The image was accompanied by the headline “One cut we'd like to see” and was on the front page of its paper Red Flag.
The organisation posted the image last night on its Facebook page, prompting more than 200 comments, most of them negative.
[News Corp,]

All three images depicted the political sentiment of sections of society at the time. 

The first during the 1977 federal election year.

The second after a 1981 Fraser Government review of federal funding. 

The third when the Abbott Government ideologically engineered a 2014-15 federal budget which began to dismantle the safety-net welfare system, public and higher education, Medicare and public broadcasting.

The reader can judge for themselves the merits of these images.

No comments: