Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Baghdad International Poster Exhibition 1979
In 1979, this poster, Letter, by Polish artist Jacek Kowalski, won 1st prize in the Baghdad International Poster Exhibition which was held in April in London, England, and then in May in Baghdad. Kowalski received £1500 -- a sizable monetary prize for art in 1979! The poster competition was organized by the Iraqi Cultural Centre of London and sponsored by the Ministry of Information of Iraq. "The poster depicts a letter sent by the peoples of the world bearing a UN stamp to an address in Palestine. The letter is returned [stamped "return to sender-no such address" by the Israeli post office] because there is no longer a country called Palestine," writes Dia al-Azzawi.
al-Azzawi wrote an article about the Baghdad Poster Exhibition called, "Posters against falsehood and oppression," for the May-June-July 1979 edition of the UR magazine devoted to Arab culture, published by the Iraqi Cultural Centre. al-Azzawi was the art editor and designer of the journal. This is the cover of the journal, which is made of heavyweight high gloss paper.
The poster competition fell under two themes: Palestine, a Homeland Denied; and the Third World's struggle for Liberation. Most of the posters dealt with the first theme. This image is the back inside cover of the journal.
Top row: Al Bashir, Iraq; Daniel Saubidet, France; Piskorski, Poland.
Center: Piech, USA; Thierry Guerin, France; Javed Badar, Pakistan
Bottom: Rafie Al-Nasiri, Iraq; Alexiev, Bulgaria; Dradi, Italy
The poster in the center of the top row, is the 2nd prize winner. It is by Finnish poster artist Reijo Kalevi Ström [click on the links on his virtual gallery site to see his more recent work, and click on the icons to enlarge]. Ström's poster depicts "the arm of a Palestinian, or any human being for that matter, stretching beneath barbed wire to grasp a handful of earth from the denied country. Next to the barbed wire are the unmistakable footprints of the occupying soldier," writes Khalid Kishtainy in another article on the exhibition called "An Exhibition with a message."