In the last decades of the 20th century, posters promoting political causes used a potent mix of typography and illustration to become a highly visible, if transient, art form.
Now the posters are back: taking its title from a 1980s poster by the Anarchist Feminist Poster Collective, Mother Nature is a Lesbian is a new exhibition at the Flinders City Gallery
The exhibition is a tribute to the tradition of radical poster art, and documents the contribution of its South Australian exponents to an era of international political printmaking.
The posters on show were produced between 1973 and 1988.
The show has been curated by Flinders University Art Museum exhibitions manager Celia Dottore, who has drawn on the extensive range of posters that form part of the University’s collection of printed works, supplemented by some additional works loaned by artists.
“I had a huge amount to select from and narrow down,” Ms Dottore said.
Ms Dottore said to help visitors digest the variety, she has grouped the posters by theme, with an explanatory text panel for each: war, feminism, race relations, workers’ rights, sexual equality and environmental protection all feature.
Although the local politics of the time were dominated by the socially progressive Labor Dunstan government, some of the policies of the Fraser Federal government inspired strident responses from the poster makers, as did perennial issues such as uranium mining.
While many of the posters are linked to specific events such as marches or rallies, others take a broader view. One series of images, dedicated to opposing apartheid, was produced in the Visual Arts Studio at Flinders by a South-African born PhD student.
While intended for cheap mass production, the works are all pre-digital.
“The artists were using the technology of the time, so they are all hand-printed,” Ms Dottore said.
The exhibition opens tomorrow and will run until 13 July in the Flinders City Gallery, located within the State Library on North Terrace. Gallery hours are 11am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and noon to 4pm on weekends.