Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Historical political graphics shed new light on social issues

A temporary exhibition in the open food market, Mercado La Paloma, featuring protest posters relating to affordable housing, gentrification and resistance has been extended through July 16. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) curated the exhibit using historical posters from its own archive in the hopes of spreading an awareness and understanding of social issues.

Titled “Reclaim! Remain! Rebuild!”, the multilingual gallery consists of posters related to historic housing conflicts from around the world. According to the CSPG, this series documents “a crisis that is local, national and international.”

The CSPG was founded by art historian Carol A. Wells and currently possesses a collection of more than 90,000 protest posters. Even though the CSPG began in 1988, the organization’s collection spans centuries, including pieces from the 1800’s to the modern-day.

Before Wells founded the CSPG, she stored protest posters in her apartment, under beds and in closets. After accumulating thousands of graphics, she decided she needed to make the images “more accessible” to the public.

Wells believes her collection is of great importance, as political posters not only document history, but share unexpected parallels with current events that can offer greater insight into today’s social issues.

In “Reclaim! Remain! Rebuild!”, the posters reflect issues that have taken place around the gallery’s community for decades.

Willing to contribute to galleries, the CSPG hopes that sharing their posters will “educate and inspire people to action.”

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