A portrait of then-Sen. Barack Obama, his gaze tilted upward, rendered in red, white, and blue became the enduring image of his 2008 presidential campaign. The now-iconic poster by Shephard Fairey read simply: “Hope.”
Nine years later, the artist has created a new set of images for this inauguration, none of which feature the incoming president. Under the banner of “We the People,” the set of three posters each come with a different message: “defend dignity,” “greater than fear,” and “protect each other.”
Instead of President-elect Donald Trump’s squinty glare, Fairey featured Latina, Muslim, and African-American women.
The Amplifier Foundation, a non-profit group that aims to harness artwork for social change movements, commissioned Fairey’s works as well as two other posters by artists Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal.
“This moment calls for new images to disrupt the rising tide of hate and fear. We, the people, need to come together under new symbols of hope,” the Amplifier Foundation says in a Kickstarter video aimed at raising $60,000 to distribute the images. Contributors have already pledged more than 20 times that amount, at $1.3 million and counting.
The group plans to publish the images as full page ads in tomorrow’s edition of The Washington Post and distribute them at Metro stations and other drop spots.
Before the election, Fairey released a red, black, and white poster of the lower half of Trump’s face under the word “Demagogue.” But he told PBS that the time had passed for attacking the now president-elect.
“We thought it was the right time to make a campaign that’s about diversity and inclusion, about people seeing the common bonds we have, and our connections as human beings,” Fairey said. “The idea was to take back a lot of this patriotic language in a way that we see is positive and progressive, and not let it be hijacked by people who want to say that the American flag or American concepts only represent one narrow way of thinking.”
While Fairey’s Obama poster led to a lawsuit with the Associated Press over the photograph used as the source material, the artist worked directly with photographers this time.
“The Muslim woman was shot by Ridwan Adhami, who is an accomplished photographer and proud Muslim, the Latina woman was shot by Arlene Mejorado, a San Antonio- based artist and photographer and proud first-generation American, and the African-American kid was shot by Delphine Diallo, a French and Senegalese photographer based in New York,” he told PBS. “We realized that this has got to be a diverse coalition of artists for us to do this, and that while it’s good for us to be allies, this campaign really has to be authentically diverse.”
Fairey, Yerena, and Sabogal’s posters are also available for free to print.