Today is a day, for hope.
That’s what the artists behind ‘We The People‘ want you to know.
Shepard Fairey first came to fame for his 2008 stenciled red, white and blue imagery of a Senator from Illinois, a man named Barrack Obama, the soon-to-be President of the United States. Obama’s career sky rocketed as he made his way into the oval office with one of the highest approval ratings ever (at 79%), and with the blessing of the American people who upheld him as a ‘uniter’.
Eight years later, the iconic image is getting a redo, but is still delivering the same message it did nearly a decade ago.
“We felt the phrase ‘We The People’ is pretty important. It means everyone,” says Shepard Fairey, who goes on to say the posters are supposed to convey the idea of America being a melting pot of inclusion.
Inspiration for the posters came from a hotly contested election, in which now President Donald Trump’s verbal attacks and othering of minority groups – including immigrants, women, Hispanics and Muslims – deeply severed the unity between Americans in 2016. Donald Trump goes into the White House with the lowest approval rating since the system of approval ratings began.
“We the people,” is pointedly titled after the first three words of the constitution, and depicts images of many of the groups who were attacked by Donald Trump during his election, or who remain at high risk by the Trump administration during the election. This includes profiles of Muslim American, African American, Native American, Latina, and Lesbian women.
Movingly, each poster is inscribed with with a call to action of unity and hope: “We the people are greater than fear,” “We the people defend dignity,” and “We the people protect each other.”
“Art is what shapes movements; it’s our catharsis, our call to action,” Jessica Sabogal one of the artists involved with the ‘We The People’ project said. “But in the end, social change must come from people working together to change our economic and political system.”
Notably, all peoples featured within this artwork are women. The website announcing the exhibit for the art series (which takes place today in Los Angeles), encourages protestors of the global Women’s Marches to carry them during tomorrow’s protests.
“We The People” started out as a Kickstarter campaign by The Amplifier Foundation and aimed to initially raise 60,000 dollars, but eventually took in over 1.36 million dollars. That money has been used by the organization to buy advertising in major national news papers, including the Washington Post and the New York times where full page prints will be run today. These prints can be used and carried during the protests this weekend.