International display of protest set to hit Dundee gallery

22 October 2014

Can images change the course of history? Are placards powerful enough to topple tyrants and bring down oppressive regimes?

An exhibition tackling those questions and exploring the history of radical imagery as a means of protest is heading for a city with its own proud tradition of activism.

A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution is the fourth in the series of partnership projects with The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum presenting touring exhibitions from the V&A, London as part of the pre-opening programme of exhibitions for V&A Museum of Design Dundee.

Over seventy original posters drawn from the V&A’s outstanding poster collection as well as loans of rare posters from designers and activists and from the Northern Ireland Political Collection held at the Linden Hall Library in Belfast will be shown at The McManus to examine how the poster has been used to agitate for political change.

The posters were produced under many different conditions by Communist states and radical political parties through to grassroots protest organisations and the subject matter is equally varied.

Ranging from the early 20th century right up to examples from recent protests in Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt, the posters offer a mix of highly creative graphic design and photography along with slogans which span international boundaries and languages. From women’s campaign for the vote to the anti-apartheid struggles and British miners’ strikes, this exhibition brings together some of the most potent, and in many cases controversial, images used to declare resistance and offer hope in many different situations around the world.

The exhibition’s curator, Catherine Flood from the V&A, said: “In these posters art and design intersects with extraordinary events and personal stories. While some of the works on display played a role at important historical moments, others relate to struggles going on now and raise questions about the world we live in today. It is exciting to present this important collection of posters to a new generation that is increasingly politically engaged and alive to the possibilities of protest graphics in a digital age.”

Lord Provost Bob Duncan said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to host the latest in a series of partnerships between Leisure & Culture Dundee and the V&A. This is another exciting exhibition and I am sure it will attract many people to the galleries. The McManus continues to be a must see destination for visitors from Dundee and beyond.”

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee said: “This is a provocative exhibition which shows the extraordinary power of graphic design whatever the age to demonstrate, motivate and protest. Although we live in a time when digital communication seems to dominate, this exhibition makes clear that for many social and political movements brilliant poster design continues to be a forceful weapon for change. “

*A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution runs at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, from 13 November 2014 until 4 January 2015. Admission is free.


About the V&A poster collection:
The V&A started collecting posters from around 1910 and now holds the national collection. As part of this it has developed a collection of political posters impressive in its depth and international reach. During the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989, V&A curators travelled to Eastern Europe collecting posters directly from designers and gathering ephemera from the streets. Today it continues to acquire new works from around the globe.