Like most of the progressive community, the Revolution Messaging staff has taken to the streets — not to mention thousands of congressional phone lines, and countless inboxes and digital ad spaces — since November 9.
But while most of us scrawl our frustrations in faded magic marker across drug store poster board, our graphic design team channeled their resistance the way they often do: through art.
Here’s some of their work.
“Woke:” The meaning of woke (unfortunately) changes depending on whoever is saying it, but my idea was to reclaim it as a black artist, reminding everyone of systematic injustice and racism. I really wanted the poster to be simple and iconic. The colors were chosen to symbolize America.
“Mass Incarceration:” Being black, it’s really hard to limit myself to one issue that I am passionate about. Mass incarceration is the biggest problem in America that affects people I personally know. It’s super real when you actually know someone who has been through the system.
“Lorde:” While researching Audre Lorde for a shareable for Kamala Harris, I came across this quote by her. With all that is happening in the world right now and all the injustices that we hear and see every day, it really resonated with me. I liked the idea of depicting this quote in an unapologetic, forceful way. By showing the older woman’s hands grasping the face of a young woman, she is turning the trying experiences and stories of her generation into a physical transfer between them.
“Bleeding:” This saying came from a t-shirt I saw some time ago that I have always looked for again. It is a play on the old Nike commercials and really comes from one too many men using PMS as an excuse for acceptable female behavior.
“Frida:” Frida Kahlo is the epitome of nonconformity and defying gender role stereotypes.
“Can’t You See?:” In high school, my friend needed a pad from our school’s restrooms, but didn’t have 75 cents. Thus, it became a joke between us where we would say “Can’t you see that I’m bleeding?” as a dramatic plea.
“Love/Hate:” Growing up in Western New York (WNY), I went to a high school of over 2,000 students and knew people of all religious backgrounds and races. But as the years went on and I paid more attention, I discovered the amount of ignorance, bigotry and racism that has been taught in WNY (and throughout the country), despite its diversity. Especially since the election of Trump, white supremacy, anti-semitism, sexism, and transphobia have only gotten worse. Seeing support for Trump in my hometown breaks my heart and angers me. I wanted to create an image that could simply demonstrate that these types of actions and thoughts should never dominate anyone’s life nor be taught further, continuing a vicious cycle.
Sheila Angelo with Taramarie Mitravich
“Beast:” Even though I knew that Donald Trump would be moving in in less than a month, the 2016 White House holiday party seemed like a safe haven from political turmoil. When I think back to the party, I can still feel the radiating warmth and hope that everything would still be ok. However, walking by the Trump White House made me feel like all the holiday cheer had been replaced with a winter frost. This reminded me of “Beauty and the Beast,” because the White House feels like it will be under a curse until its resident can learn how to love.
“Somebody’s…:” I always get frustrated with trying to come up with messaging around sexual assault because I just want to yell, “WE’RE PEOPLE BE NICE TO US” but that doesn’t really elevate the conversation or invite debate. This was a visual representation of that feeling. We’re all just people. I just want to be treated like a person and trusted like a person, instead of valued based on what I mean to someone else.
“Trust Black Women:” André and I were talking about doing a poster about how we need to trust black women, especially on the heels of the R. Kelly article that came out last week, and I thought of the way white voices carry more weight in society, and the way white women frequently speak over women of color. This was the image that came to mind. The idea is that we should listen to black women the first time they tell us what’s going on, instead of waiting for a white person to tell us they’re right.
“Silence/Accomplice” and “Silence/Authority:”
I was born in Chile, where until just 1990, there was a 17-year authoritarian military government rule. While I myself didn’t experience this (except for the first three years of my life), my parents did and the stories I’ve heard growing up have shaped me as a result. They’ve led me to question authority and ultimately defy it almost every single time. My family’s experiences have taught me to act, and act swiftly, when it comes to standing up for either yourself or those who cannot for themselves.
Silence as a verb is defined as “cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking.” It almost always does more harm than good. If you are silent for yourself, you cheat yourself out of the ability to speak and stand up for what you believe in. If you are silent in the presence of those oppressed, you cheat them out of having an ally in the fight against authority, thereby making yourself an indirect accomplice. Silence is not a harmless and indifferent act. Many times throughout history, its performance has led to disastrous, and oftentimes life-threatening, results. I refuse to participate in silence and you should too.