Toronto Free Gallery and Groundswell present Celebrate People’s History!, a show of poster art created by over ninety artists – including many of Toronto’s own – to document the hidden history of social justice movements. The Celebrate People’s History series is the culmination of 12 years of work, a massive collection of 110 posters, the complete set of which has just been released as a hardcover book by Feminist Press. The full collection will be on display at Toronto Free Gallery from February 10 – March 19, 2011, and you’re invited to the opening on Thursday, February 10th at 7:00PM.
There’s a good chance that at some point in your life you’ve seen a Celebrate People’s History poster decorating the walls of your classroom, community center or neighborhood book shop. Initiated in 1998 by Josh MacPhee of the US-based radical print collective Just Seeds, Celebrate People’s History features posters honoring feminist organizers, civil rights leaders, indigenous uprisings, union struggles, LGBT activism and much more. The book includes talented Toronto printmakers Janet Attard, James David Morgan, and Rocky Tobey, along with many well-known international artists such as Cristy Road, Eric Drooker, and Swoon.
Jane Jacobs poster by Sabrina Jones, part of the Celebrate People’s History series
The posters make up a hidden history of people’s struggles, covering well known events and praising groups and leaders of prominence, but also bringing to light less known struggles. The set includes tributes to the AIDS activist group ACT UP, the 1969 Stonewall rebellion, the 1921 Appalachian miners strike at Blair Mountain, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, the anti-eviction battle at San Francisco’s International Hotel, the 1988 democratic uprising in Burma, the women leaders of Oaxaca’s 2006 civil uprising, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the 1804 Haitian Revolution, singer Paul Robeson, and heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.
Flint Sit-down Strike poster by Dylan Miner, part of the Celebrate People’s History series
Celebrate People’s History: the Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution, is edited by Josh MacPhee, with a foreword by Rebecca Solnit and includes all the posters in the exhibition. At the reception the book and posters will be available for sale to benefit Josh MacPhee’s partner, Dara Greenwald, who is currently battling cancer.
Pictures from the show follow – enjoy!