Editorial Eye 103
It is commonplace to say that history is written by the winners, but if we have learned anything in the past few years it is that the historical record needs to be challenged. After all, some of the biggest winners are now seen as bad losers. The billboard on our cover, in which Jahnavi Inniss lists prominent Black individuals omitted from British history of the period 1729-1875 (from Greg Bunbury’s Black Outdoor Art project), is an example of the ongoing need to correct and improve our understanding of what went before.
Sara De Bondt’s account of design’s role in colonial rule and its aftermath in Congo is a reminder that design and advertising are not always on the side of progress – a point strongly argued by Ruben Pater’s CAPS LOCK, reviewed in this issue by Peter Buwert.
But visual communicators can make a difference. Lucinda Rogers’ reportage drawings from the Cop26 climate summit – which contrast human stories with the urgent scrawls of protesters’ banners – had impact on the pages and website of the Financial Times. Tomo Tomo shows what ‘slow’ editorial design can achieve in the high-speed world of Italian daily papers.
Credits and attribution can get lost or omitted in the race to write history’s first draft, as Mike Dempsey’s article about Harry Willock shows. Willock, whose airbrushed artwork (see opposite) made a powerful, colourful contribution to visual culture in the psychedelic fog of the late 1960s, is one of many practitioners whose art and craft deserve greater recognition.
The craft of the darkroom lies at the heart of Garry Fabian Miller’s body of work (below). With his camera-less photographic prints he has created a parallel, fine-art universe over the past half century. Miller’s new fellowship with the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford gives tangible recognition to yet another history worth retelling. JLW
Our Bright Dream, 2015, by Garry Fabian Miller. Top. Cover photo of her own billboard by Jahnavi Innis. See ‘Battlefield of ideas’.
John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London
First published in Eye no. 103 vol. 26, 2022
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