REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE – Art Exhibition in Bear River & Annapolis Royal

“Every war already carries within it the war which will answer it. Every war is answered by a new war, until everything, everything is smashed… That is why I am so wholeheartedly for a radical end to this madness, and why my only hope is in a world socialism… Pacifism is not a matter of calmly looking on; it is work, hard work.” – Kåthe Kollwitz, 1943.

revolution posterAR

One day last year, while sipping fair trade coffee at Sissiboo Coffee Cafe with Susan Friend, another Bear River transplant, we learned something new about each other. We both had personal collections of political posters and art about REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE.

Susan had Russian Revolutionary Posters from the 20’s and 30’s and Shepard Fairey posters from the Women’s March on Washington.

Woman at work on loom.
Woman at work on loom. This poster depicts a yearly exercise parade of Soviet workers and youth marching together and embracing the ideology of their country. Poster artist not identified
Shepard Fairey posters of the Women’s March
These posters were designed by Shepard Fairey for the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017. It was a stunning show of protest and resistance on the first full day of the Trump administration in the USA.

I treasured my Käthe Kollwitz etchings of the Peasant War (1524) in Europe and the Weaver’s Revolt in Germany (mid 1800’s). Our son had recently mailed us anti war posters from Vietnam where he’s teaching English.

Wouldn’t it be great, we said, if we could share this inspiring, historic art with others. We approached Erin and Jon Welch at Sissiboo Cafe who offered us wall space in both Bear River and Annapolis Royal for our project.

And now it’s happening.

Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery in Bear River
Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery in Bear River, Nova Scotia. Winter hours are Wed, Thurs and Fri 7:30 – 2:30; Sat 9 – 4 from now until the end of February.
In North Vietnam (1967)
In North Vietnam (1967) By the time the last American combat troops left Vietnam in 1973, the U.S. military had dropped some 4.6 million tons of bombs on Vietnam. This was double the number of bombs dropped in WW2. They destroyed a large percentage of the nation’s towns and villages and killed an estimated 2 million Vietnamese people. Over 50 thousand Americans lost their lives and many more Americans and Vietnamese continue to be affected by their physical and emotional injuries. Reproduction poster on rice paper from The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

These artworks are significant in many ways:

  • the art is used to educate, to communicate and to inspire action
  • even the art style was revolutionary. Russian Constructivism, a type of Modernism, combined shape, colour and photo images for the first time.
  • Kåthe Kollwitz’s use of etching. even by today’s standards, is technically unsurpassed and was used to show the lives of ordinary people, from their point of view.
  • Kollwitz connected the similarities between contemporary political struggles, with historical resistance
  • She established herself in an art world dominated by men. Women were not admitted to art schools. In spite of this she would become an art professor in Berlin until the Nazi’s came to power and fired her.
  • Kollwitz’s work was so powerful, she was banned by the Nazis from producing, showing or selling her work.
Aufruhr
Käthe Kollwitz Title: Aufruhr (Uprising) Medium: Etching Series: The Weavers’ Revolt Year: 1899 In many ways, the Silesian weavers’ revolt was a traditional response to poverty and hunger. However, the weavers’ words and actions indicated a changing understanding of their position in society. Because of this the event has gained enormous significance in the history of the German labor movement Karl Marx regarded the uprising as evidence of the birth of a German workers’ movement.
Losbruch (Charge)
Käthe Kollwitz Title: Losbruch (Charge) Medium: Etching Series: The Peasants War Year: 1903 In many ways, the Silesian weavers’ revolt was a traditional response to poverty and hunger. However, the weavers’ words and actions indicated a changing understanding of their position in society. Because of this the event has gained enormous significance in the history of the German labor movement Karl Marx regarded the uprising as evidence of the birth of a German workers’ movement.
  • Vietnam’s posters lifted moral during the devastating war invasion by the US in the 60’s-70’s
Solidarity with Vietnam (1970)
Solidarity with Vietnam (1970) “Vietnam Committee of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee of the GDR” (Germany Democratic Republic) All of the socialist countries in Europe, Asia and Cuba offered varying types of support to Vietnam in its war with the US. At war’s end, thousands of young people were invited to socialist countries to attend University for free, in order to rebuild their war-ravaged homeland. Reproduction poster on rice paper from The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

These artworks give us glimpses into the human struggle for survival.  The fight for basic human needs; food, shelter, rights and freedoms.

They also document how a monumental political eruption, born out of desperation can occur, when ordinary people are driven to revolt against the conditions in their country.

The Russian Revolution resulted in the world’s first Communist State. It had enormous global impact.  It influenced other countries to follow suit and the world became divided not only by geography but by ideology.

Those political divisions remain today, as does the human struggle against inequality.

This collection of posters, postcards, and original etchings are from the Federal Republic of Germany, the former German Democratic Republic, the former Soviet Union, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the United States of America.

We hope you are inspired by its content.

revolutions - 8
Larry Knox hangs Susan Friend’s Soviet era posters.

Art from the Russian Revolution, Vietnam, Germany, and the USA

Opens Sat Jan 13, 2018, 1 – 3 pm
January – February 28, 2018

Sissiboo Coffee Bar & Gallery, Bear River NS
1890 Clementsvale Rd

Winter hours: Wed, Thurs and Fri 7:30 – 2:30; Sat 9 – 4 until the end of February.
——————————————————————-

Show continues March1 – April 15, 2018
in Annapolis Royal, NS
@ Sissiboo Coffee Bar & Gallery
George Street

Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution (1987)
Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution (1987) “Most beautiful, happiest star on earth” The red star is a communist symbol and each of the 5 points represents one of five groups in society. They are the Proletariat, Farmers, Intellectuals, Youth and the Military. This display was a booklet in the German Democratic Republic that marked the anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917. The woodcuts were made by artist Wolfram Schubert who was the painting professor of Flora Doehler in Berlin.
REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE
REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE posters and etchings from the 20th century.
REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE showing at Sissiboo Coffee
REVOLUTION and RESISTANCE showing at Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery in Bear River January, 2017.
Shepard Fairey posters of the Women’s March
These posters were designed by Shepard Fairey for the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017. It was a stunning show of protest and resistance on the first full day of the Trump administration in the USA.
Election Posters of the PDS:
“The First Time – eyes closed when kissing; eyes open when voting” Election Posters of the PDS: A greeting from the left – where the heart beats (postcard set) The Party of German Socialism descended from the party that had ruled the former German Democratic Republic. It existed from 1989 until 2007 when it joined other left wing groups and became The Linke (The Left)

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