‘Get up, stand up!‘ is the name of the newest exhibition of The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA) in Brussels. Just like the previous exhibition called Wonderland, civil disobedience is the main thread. This theme happens to be a personal favorite of mine. I think it’s safe to say that most of us rebelled a lot during puberty (I sure did, ask my mom). As we grew older we partly lost this temper and that’s too bad. Nowadays I feel like we lack the courage or the effort to publicly disagree with injustice in society. Of course the union and other organisations still have manifestations but it seems that they don’t have much impact anymore.
I think we are also getting lazier. Is it enough to change our profile picture on Facebook to show that we disagree with something? Will that cause any change at all? Or is it still important to let our voices be heard in the streets?
As for me, I always feel slightly uncomfortable when marching in a big crowd. I am what they call a highly sensitive person so I don’t like to be surrounded by too much noise and bustle. I must admit that I will never be the first to organise a manifestation. That is why I feel so attracted to the protest posters in this exhibition. I’m a sucker for visual arts and I think that an image has a lot more power then a slogan we keep shouting during a manifestation. Another advantage of protest images is that they get picked up by the press very easily and that they immediately circulate on social media. Therefore it is a more permanent form of protest.
Changing the world with posters
The first posters displayed at the MIMA originate from the student protests in May ’68 in Paris and the rest of Europe. Students were unhappy about the traditional educational system and the inequality in society. They were striking against the high number of people in unemployment and poverty (amongst other things). Because they didn’t have the money to print billboard posters like the ones politicians used, they came up with the idea of printing their own drawings on silkscreen. That way they could reproduce the same image over and over again without spending money on printing costs. The Académie des Beaux-Arts was the perfect location for this creative proces.
Protest posters were used all over the world to demand better rights for LGBTQ people, black people and women, to protest against the war in Vietnam and to raise awareness about environmental issues, AIDS and animal rights. This poster was made by the crew of the Stonewall Inn in New York as a reaction to the Stonewall Riots.
Poster by the feminist movement. Sisterhood is blooming.
Power to the penis :).
For animal rights, against the massive whale hunting in Japan.
Of all the exhibitions at the MIMA since their opening in 2016 this one inspired me the most. If you’re interested in politics and human rights movements then you will love this exhibition.
Also use your inspiration to draw your own protest poster at the end of exhibition. This drawing of Trump is a great example (not made by me).
If this article didn’t convince you to see the protest posters at the MIMA, then maybe my activist cat can do the trick. The bag is designed by HOMOCATS.
Until September 30, 2018.
Free entrance if you have the Museum Pass.