“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.
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.
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.
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.
Vietnam’s posters lifted moral during the devastating war invasion by the US in the 60’s-70’s
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.
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 March – April 13, 2018
in Annapolis Royal, NS
@ Sissiboo Coffee Bar & Gallery