DePaul University Special Collections and Archives is proud to announce the opening of our newest exhibit, Voices of Protest/Voces de Protesta. Voices of Protest/Voces de Protesta features a rotating exhibit of protest art compiled from portfolios recently purchased by Special Collections and Archives. The protest art is presented in both silkscreen and poster print formats, covering a range of topics including immigration rights, reproductive rights, and the fight to end poverty. By displaying the majority of this art without captions, we hope to allow the pieces to speak for themselves so that visitors to the exhibit will be able to see the issues and concerns raised by the pieces through the artists’ eyes.
The poster prints on display are the works of different movements. The origins of the Poor People’s Campaign go back to December 4, 1967, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., announced plans for a Poor People’s Campaign in the hopes of compelling the nation to make a real effort at ending poverty. Dr. King’s assassination brought an abrupt end to these plans, but his vision was never forgotten. The new Poor People’s Campaign formed in 2017, and on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, organizers in the campaign sent out a call for artwork related to the campaign’s central themes. Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative created a portfolio of the art that resulted from this call, which includes poster prints and various ephemera, such as protest chants.
The other set of poster prints are from the portfolio This is an Emergency!, compiled by Justseeds member Meredith Stern. The portfolio features a compilation of art donated by multiple organizations that focuses on reproductive rights and gender justice. Stern created the portfolio as a way to unite the voices of those suffering due to gender discrimination, explaining, “In response to all the bullying, legislative measures, and horrifying statements filling the media against women, LGBT, and non-gender conforming folks, I felt we needed a collection of voices responding through visual art and interviews.”
The most striking art on display in Voices of Protest is, perhaps, the muslin silkscreen prints created by Voces de los Artistas, an art-based affiliate of Voces de la Frontera (VDLF). Established in Milwaukee in 1998, VDLF is a community-based immigration rights organization with over a dozen chapters throughout Wisconsin. Following the 2016 American presidential election, VDLF decided that a more formal connection between social justice organizing and art was necessary, leading to the formation of Voces de los Artistas (VDLA). Artists in VDLA create banners and other protest art at art builds, community gatherings that are open to everyone and allow art to be produced on large-scale basis. Along with the silkscreen prints, the Voces de los Artistas box set also contains ephemera, flyers, and photographs of the art in action at various protests from the past two years.
Voices of Protest/Voces de Protesta will be on display in the John T. Richardson Library, Room 314, throughout 2019, with three rotations of artwork so that we may share as many pieces as possible on our reading room walls this year. All are welcome to view the exhibit during our open hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To learn more about DePaul Special Collections and Archives, visit our webpage or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For instruction sessions with these or other Special Collections and Archives materials, please contact Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts.