Thursday, 4:13pm
28 June 2012

From exotic wonderland to self-determination [extract]

African Posters: A Catalogue of the Poster Collection in the Basler Afrika Bibliographien.

By Giorgio Miescher and Dag Henrichsen. Basler Afrika Bibliographien, CHF85

Leaving through this compendium of 900 posters, many produced in Africa but some in Europe, I paused at length on one poster. It was the urgency of the poster’s message that struck me, despite its obvious vintage. Set against a red backdrop, a black man directly engages the viewer with a piercing gaze, his mouth gagged. Below the illustration, set against the right margin, is a terse bit of German copy which reads: ‘Freiheit für Zimbabwe’, or ‘Freedom for Zimbabwe’. Despite the fact that the poster was produced in the late 1970s and was fashioned after a sticker made in Britain in 1976, the words still resonate. [...]