Whether you like delving into social history, love your graphic design or enjoy an unusual exhibition, there’s a new event in Oxford that you’ll want to visit. Lost Treasures of Revolution takes a look at the artwork behind one of the 20th century’s biggest social movements.
It’s likely you’ve never heard of it, but Solidarity was the leading political force opposing communism in Poland during the 1980s. It paved the way for a peaceful transition to democracy in 1989. And this exhibition explores the role that graphics played in building the movement and sustaining it during the difficult days of government repression and martial law.
Revolutionary artwork in the exhibition
Lost Treasures of Revolution brings together 25 Solidarity poster designs, reproduced from the V&A museum’s collection. Alongside these, are a selection of original badges and rarely seen underground stamps. They highlight the grassroots creative spirit of the movement.
The exhibition ends with a display of posters and graphics from current global social movements and community projects. These aim to make us think about what graphic design can do in our time to build movements, and foster participation and political dialogue.
From its iconic logo to spontaneous poster designs and underground ephemera, Solidarity’s printed graphics created a rich visual culture of resistance. They spoke to people from all walks of society. By getting involved in making and circulating these items, often at great personal risk, many ordinary people participated in the collective and transformative work of opposition.
An exhibition that’s relevant now
The curator, Catherine Flood, believes the exhibition is quite timely, as issues of social inequality and alienation have surfaced during the pandemic. By looking at these past social movements, we can see how collective action can bring people together and make positive changes. Is this the way forward in our world right now? Can we take these ideas to help create a fairer society?
This exhibition is running in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and St John’s College, University of Oxford. It’s part of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict’s annual conference. It’s held each year at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. In addition to research reports from CRIC members, it will explore the post-pandemic world through the lens of ‘Solidarity’.
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When: 22nd September – 8th October 2021
Where: The Barn Gallery, St John’s College, University of Oxford, Oxford
£: Free admission
More info: instytutpolski.pl