Style and design
Day of Solidarity with the Congo, 1972 by Alfrédo Juan González Rostgaard
Courtesy Lincoln Cushing / Docs Populi Archive
The posters in the Art of Solidarity exhibition were created using off-set method and silk-screen techniques combining art, photography and text. This created posters with striking images and strong political messages. Many show the artist’s ability to use simple images to convey complex ideas and subjects.
Designers used the imagery of both traditional and modern weapons to symbolise resistance and political power, including chains to reflect the history of slavery and barbed wire to depict oppression. Cultural symbols, such as masks and statues, were often used to link the struggles of African peoples with those of their ancestors.
Many of the Cuban artists brought their own particular style to the posters. Alfrédo Rostgaard, the artistic director and lead designer for OSPAAAL from 1966 to 1975, often injected the unexpected into his designs. While every poster by female artist Berta Abelénda Fernández included some form of weapon, ranging from spears to bazookas, often in a witty and unexpected manner.
Many of these graphic artists played a vital role in the cultural explosion of Cuban poster art from the 1960s through to the 1980s. Some still continue to practise as artists in Cuba today.