Artist behind Obama “HOPE” poster releases new series ahead of Trump inauguration

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"We The People" series, by Shephard Fairey
“We The People” series, by Shepard Fairey



That’s the message emblazoned on the latest public offering by artist Shepard Fairey. Fairey has released a set of posters ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

Fairey, the artist best known for his “HOPE” posters used during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, collaborated with artists Jessica Sabogal and Ernesto Yerena to create the “We The People” series, with Fairey’s contribution sharing a similar red, white, and blue illustration style as the iconic HOPE image.

The series highlight American diversity and aim to promote unity.

Jessica Sabogal, a Colombian-American muralist, told USA Today the project emphasizes that equality and unity are some of the most essential principles of the American spirit.

“We the People” has traditionally meant ‘everybody’; all of us,” Sabogal said. “It was the unifying phrase that America was founded upon.”

Fairey told PBS NewsHour the artists made a conscious decision not to include images of Trump.

“We came to a conclusion as a group that in the language [for these posters] we want to say, “We reject fear-mongering and exclusion.” But we also wanted to do it in a way that doesn’t leave the door open for the Fox News type to say, ‘This is reverse racism.’

“It’s hard to encapsulate the complexity of what we’re facing, going into this Trump presidency, in three images. But we chose three groups that are vulnerable. In the history of the U.S., there are a lot of people who fled persecution from Europe on the basis of religious identities. The idea of championing the ideals of our forefathers and then limiting the movement of Muslims — it’s so confounding that this is not riling more people up. And so it’s really time do some [work] that I think is a counterargument to that, and that’s not based on division but based on inclusion. We’ve seen where division has got us.

"We The Indivisible" by Jessica Sabogal and "We The Resilient" by Ernesto Yerena
“We The Indivisible” by Jessica Sabogal and “We The Resilient” by Ernesto Yerena

The project was commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation and was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, which set an initial goal of $60,000.

To date, the campaign has raised over $1.1 million.

The campaign says the funds will be used to purchase full-page ads in the Washington Post featuring the posters, to run on Jan. 20.

“Much of Washington will be locked down on Inauguration Day, and in some areas there will be severe restrictions on signs and banners,” organizers said on the Kickstarter page. “But we’ve figured out a hack.  It’s called the newspaper! On January 20th, if this campaign succeeds, we’re going to take out full-page ads in the Washington Post with these images, so that people across the capitol and across the country will be able to carry them into the streets, hang them in windows, or paste them on walls.”

The Amplifier Foundation is offering the posters for free high resolution download on their website.

Fairey endorsed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary in a video on Twitter in February last year.




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