This series of four online exhibitions over the next months will serve as cultural instruments to enliven and deepen the political process of the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle, a political platform that has emerged from people's movements, political organizations, and networks from across the globe.
Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research has joined this process, understanding that the intellectual and cultural battle of ideas must be firmly grounded in movements mobilizing on the ground. The 100+ participating member organizations can be found here – it is a declaration in defense of life, peace, and the planet in this struggle.
We are at a crossroads. Imperialism is putting the future of life on the planet at risk. The basic rights of housing, health, and education are increasingly out of reach. States in the Global South are being rapidly stripped of their sovereignty, with war and militaristic aggressions looming at their doorsteps, threatening the survival of the planet and the people.
And this was all before the COVID-19 pandemic began to shake the world, revealing the contradictions of capitalism, which under the imperialist and neoliberal order has proven that it has no responses to the needs of the people.
Art in the service of the people
In the early 1980s, Thami Mnyele, one of South Africa’s great artist-militants and co-founder of the exiled cultural workers’ group Medu Arts Ensemble wrote: “The struggle of the artist must be rooted in that of the majority of our people.” He reminds us that political art must be grounded in the movements and struggles of the people. “Any actual engagement in the making of change must of necessity seek inspiration and alliance with the movement of the people.” This he called the “river,” which feeds and nourishes a work of art.
As part of the political process of the Anti-Imperialist week, which will take place sometime in 2020, we know that our collective strength lies in mobilization – and these mobilizations need to find their visual voices. This process needs to develop its collective visual expression. So, we are calling for graphic artists and militants from around the world to help transform our collective indignation into inspiring images, to expose the violence of imperialism through posters, and most importantly, and to help us imagine a different future. “With our brushes and paints,” Mnyele urged us, “we shall need to visualize the beauty of the country we would like our people to live in.”
The Anti-Imperialist Poster Exhibition is a series of monthly online exhibitions that will be based on four grounding concepts: Capitalism, Neoliberalism, Hybrid War, and Imperialism.
Our second call for artists on the theme of 'Neoliberalism'. The text below serves as a guide on how we understand neoliberalism, which we invite you to interpret visually.
NEOLIBERALISM: The rich respond to a capitalist crisis by refusing to pay taxes and by forcing the State to adjust its policies to benefit them. Meanwhile, States decrease welfare spending, sell public assets, slash regulations on trade and finance, and sell off the commons – such as water and air – to the corporations.
Information: Title of work, full name, country, organization (optional), social media handle (optional).
Colour: Any – blue emphasis recommended for visual unity between posters.
Visual Identity: Incorporate the logo of the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle and Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research in art work (link)
Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic (Minimize text for wider accessibility)
Jointly curated between Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle, the exhibition will be hosted on the Week’s website and distributed as a digital catalogue, with all credits given to the participating artists. The posters will be made available to the hundreds of movements that are participating in this anti-imperialist process. We ask that the artists to creatively incorporate the logos of the Week and Tricontinental so that they will also be our visual tools in building the process itself.