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Richard Lees presents
This Is Hull! Rock Against Racism Posters 79-82
Until Friday 26 May
In a nutshell
Richard Lees' This Is Hull! Rock Against Racism Posters is a visually stunning retrospective exhibition reflecting one community's fight against racism.
Ten miles East of England, Hull is sometimes out of step. Hull Rock Against Racism got started in 1979, a bit after everyone else, when community activists, grassroots anti-racist campaigners and musicians (including Roland Gift!) came together to promote regular RAR gigs with local bands in the heart of West Hull.
Richard Lees’ silkscreen posters were also a bit out of step. No ripped ransom note safety pinned punk graphics. Instead, images were adapted from radical artwork - German Expressionist woodcuts, Soviet Constructivist film posters or Paris 68 screen prints - and put back on the front line.
With production runs of around 250 , the prints were fly-posted all over Hull, often in blocks of 4 -8 posters per site, creating a powerful and sustained anti-racist street art presence in the city, just as important as the events they promoted.
The bands and the community centre have gone but the posters are reaching out to new audiences: with six on permanent display at Hull's Wilberforce House Museum, the whole lot are on a UK tour, to Manchester's People's History Museum, London's Rich Mix, Edinburgh's Summerhall and to schools and Colleges in Hull and the East Riding, with a clear message - we beat back the racists then and we can beat them back now!
What to Expect
With original silkscreen posters, designed by Richard Lees, for Hull Rock Against Racism 1979-82, This Is Hull! presents a visually stunning exhibition of street art Agit Prop in the revolutionary tradition of German Expressionism, Soviet Constructivism and Paris 68 Atelier Populaire
Richard Lees is a print-maker, writer, trade-unionist and the chair of Hull Stand Up To Racism. His posters for Rock Against Racism are currently on a UK exhibition tour and his new print projects, Velvet Rope and McCarthy Iconoclast are being exhibited in the UK City of Culture 2017.
What people are saying
'packing a visual punch, these compelling posters are as relevant now as ever.' Hull Daily Mail
'Iconic images leading a movement for social change' Manchester Evening News
'This exhibition tells a fascinating story about how one particular group used graphic design to politically engage and empower a new audience. It's a great opportunity for people to see these works together in one place and to learn more about Rock Against Racism' Chris Burgess, senior curator at Manchester's People's History Museum
'The exhibition tour raises awareness about equality, anti-racist campaigning and human rights.' The Teacher (NUT magazine)
Why does Rich Mix matter?
'Proud to be part of the Rich Mix Revolution programme of events commemorating the Russian Revolution of 1917, It seems perfectly fitting that these posters, produced by community arts activists, should have their London premiere at the leading London community arts centre.'
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Things you should know
Suitable for all ages
This event is wheelchair accessible.