Do you have any background on these images and protest posters?
September 8, 2019 6:54 PM   Subscribe

I bought this illustration and three protest posters (1, 2, 3) at Goodwill and an estate sale, respectively. I think they're great images, but I want to be sure I understand what they are and their context before I consider displaying them in my home. Do you know more context of any of these images and protest posters?

Per a couple recent AskMe questions on the topic of appropriative and otherwise inappropriate decor from other cultures, I really want to be mindful of the meaning and purpose of decor I display in my home. So any help better understanding the origins of these images and whether (or in what contexts) they would be appropriate for display would be greatly appreciated.

The illustration looks reminiscent of images from Hindu mythology. But I don't know what story and deities or characters it references or represents, and I don't know for sure its provenance. I definitely don't want to display it without knowing that context, in case its religious or cultural context would make the image appropriative or just inappropriate to put up. I also of course want to know what the story is, because I wouldn't want to display this if it didn't resonate for me. If anyone recognizes the depiction from their dress, manner, or accoutrements, I'd appreciate any info!

Similarly, I can read the Spanish on the protest and/or celebration posters, but I don't know more than that. The first two appear to be about workers' rights and solidarity and fighting for unions in Guatemala, causes I definitely care about, but I'm not sure about the history, i.e., what was happening in Guatemala at the time, or who specifically was threatening the union and firing workers for standing up for it. The third one seems to be for a celebration of A.C. Sandino in Nicaragua, in the 51st-anniversary year of his 1934 death. For all of these, I'd love more info from anyone who has it.

In the case of the illustration, I found it in the thrift store alongside a lot of other ephemera and artwork and collected plates from around the U.S. and the world. This made me think it was likely from the estate of an inveterate world traveler. Along those lines, I found the posters at an estate sale of someone whose possessions seemed acquired from similar world travel, and who was perhaps a former professor. For myself, I don't have a personal or cultural connection to Guatemala, Nicaragua, or any of the countries where Hinduism predominates. But I have studied protest movements, religions, folklore, and Latin American culture, so these items are relevant to my interests. Unfortunately, I don't have much knowledge of these specific figures and movements.

Thanks for any help!
posted by limeonaire to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not super familiar with any of this but just to give you another path to look down, the first illustration looks like a depiction of Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana. The style is exceedingly similar to this work transferred by rubbing chalk on cloth placed over temple carvings.
posted by Jpfed at 7:37 PM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

There is a person to ask! Lincoln Cushing who is a Cuban-born librarian and archivist who wrote Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters and has made a living preserving and documenting political posters. That first link is his website and the contact link at the bottom should get to him.
posted by jessamyn at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Some background on the first protest poster from Amnesty International (page 10 is the direct reference to Finca La Torre).

It looks like there may be an ILO case as well. See here, section 799 if you read Spanish; and here, section 517 and elsewhere, again in Spanish.

The second one could just be a May Day poster—I don't see any particular event it refers to, other than May 1st itself.
posted by migrantology at 10:24 PM on September 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

The third one seems to be for a celebration of A.C. Sandino in Nicaragua, in the 51st-anniversary year of his 1934 death.

Given the date, 1985, I'd think that it's related to the Sandinista party and the civil strife in Nicaragua around that time and the "State of Emergency." Nicaraguans who were on the other side of that conflict may have a strong reaction to seeing it displayed.
posted by Jahaza at 12:49 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Displaying it would also probably lead people to assume that you have to have strongly left wing politics, which may or may not bother you.
posted by Jahaza at 12:51 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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