The street artist, illustrator and activist, Shepard Fairey’s series of posters protesting against the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America has become globally ubiquitous in the past few weeks.
We The People takes its name from the first line of the US Constitution and was commissioned by the non-profit organisation, the Amplifier Foundation. In true egalitarian spirit, all the posters are available for download by all on the artist’s website. They feature striking portraits of Native Americans, African Americans, Muslim Americans and other minorities that have been at the receiving end of President Trump’s contentious campaign. Each depicted in Fairey’s characteristic graphic style, they feature slogans such as Women Are Perfect and Defend Dignity.
This is protest art, an attempt to once again use art to influence politics. Fairey has long been politically engaged; in 2008 he produced Hope, the now globally recognised poster featuring Barrack Obama, then an aspiring presidential candidate.
On 20 January, as President Trump was inaugurated, Fairey opened his American Civics exhibition in Los Angeles, with a tongue in cheek invitation posted on his website inviting people to come and watch the ceremony at his Subliminal Projects gallery. The exhibition featured both the posters and a collection of works made from images taken in the 1960s by Jim Marshall, the rock and roll photographer.
The artist called for people to print off the posters and make them into placards for the International Women’s March the following day, and so the images were seen around the world at the various events on 21 January.
We The People is available for download now on the artist’s website, obeygiant.com