As Trump becomes President, US street art celebrates common bonds between the people

Shepard Fairey’s famous poster, ‘Hope’ :

Image result for hope shepard fairey

A poster that eight years ago came to symbolise Obama’s presidential campaign. Now. since Donald Trump’s inauguration as the new President of the United States, Fairey is one of many featured in a street campaign to ‘reclaim American identity and values from a rising tide of hate and fear’.

A non profit organisation, Amplifier Foundation, has collaborated with street artists to reject the open racism and hate, they say became atrociously accepted during the presidential campaign. They hope the faces appearing on the We the People posters – people standing in for traditionally marginalised groups and those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign will be printed and distributed at metro stops and elsewhere in Washington DC, released for free via social media, and also appear as full page advertisements in the Washington Post newspaper on Friday. The phrase ‘we the people’ appears in the preamble to the US constitution.

The crowdfunding campaign raised more than $500,000 (£405,975) in 72 hours.

“When I say We the People, I don’t just mean political democracy, I mean cultural democracy,” said Fairey, whose art appears alongside that of Chicano [of Mexican descent] artist Ernesto Yerena and Colombian American Jessica Sabogal.

“We’re open to a flow of ideas from any number of backgrounds, any number of ethnicities, any number of perspectives. That’s how we progress. And that’s what makes the country and the world better. True democracy means everyone matters. Every voice counts,” said Fairey.

Every donation to the campaign will result in a postcard being sent to the president on behalf of the supporter. Amplifier plans to use every dollar it receives to fund art and activism that reclaims the American narrative, ‘to include those who have been historically left out of the public narrative and targeted by public policy: Muslim, Black, LatinX, LGBTQ communities, and women,’ they say.

“When I think of ‘We the People’ being used as language from founding fathers, I don’t really see myself in that narrative. I think that if it’s taken literally it should include everybody, but it doesn’t and I think we are in a time of transformation and redefining what is the foundation of this country. I think reclaiming the words “We the People” is kind of giving a reality check to this country.”


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