Propaganda presents some of the key poster designs used to engage wide social action and response over the 20th century, providing a remarkable insight into the power of information graphics, advertising and communication strategies to elicit solidarity, engagement, fear, loathing and a call to action.
The Australian War Memorial holds more than 10,000 propaganda posters from all the wars in which Australia has fought, ranging from government-issued recruitment campaigns, to handmade posters protesting against the Vietnam War, to digitally created material disseminated in recent conflicts.
The collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, provides insight into how nations approached propaganda, recruitment and protest, and how that changed. Highlights include: No. No nukes. No tests – a 1980s protest poster campaigning against the use of nuclear weapons and the testing of these weapons in the pacific by the French.
Australia has promised Britain 50,000 more men – towards the end of 1915, a War Census of the Australian population showed that 244,000 single men of military age were available for enlistment. Accordingly, on 26 November 1915, the government with W.M. Hughes as its new leader promised Britain 50,000 more troops
Talk less. You never know – a British Second World War poster by Charles J. Noke reminding the civilian population of the prominence of German spies. During the war, the need to keep quiet about any state or military related matters was reinforced in a number of posters.
Keep Calm and Carry On – this iconic poster now familiar to many viewers, was originally nearly lost. It was never released by the Ministry of Information, as it was designed to be displayed only if Germany invaded Britain. The majority of posters are believed to have been pulped at the end of the war in 1945.
Three contemporary Australian poster artists, Alison Alder, Wendy Murray and Jake Holmes, have been commissioned to make new work in response to the propaganda posters in the Memorial’s collection. These commissions creatively explore and celebrate the Memorial’s poster collection and present fresh perspectives on the unique aesthetic and history of propaganda posters.
Propaganda is co-curated by Danny Lacy, Senior Curator, MPRG and Alex Torrens, Curator of Art, Australian War Memorial. Exclusively presented at MPRG, this exhibition is timed to commemorate the centenary of the first world war 1914-1918.
Propaganda: a selection of posters from the Australian War Memorial
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery – Civic Reserve, Dunns Road, Mornington
Exhibition continues to 8 July 2018
Admission fees apply
For more information, visit: www.mprg.mornpen.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Charles J. Noke, Talk less. You never know, c.1944 (detail). Issued by the Ministry of Home Security and printed by James Hawthorn & Brother Ltd. Lithograph, Australian War Memorial.