Posters of Obama greet you as you enter this exhibition at the Design Museum, clearly giving us the ‘Hope’ of the title but ‘Nope’ is never far away. Also never far away is President Trump and it’s no spoiler to say that his portrayal is not positive!
The exhibition is divided into 3 sections: Power; Protest; and, Personality which gives plenty of scope for the excellent material they have on show. The sections focus on the years 2008-2018 through graphics and design and anger with the world is bursting out of the displays, as one poster says ‘Design is always political’ Here are a few of the highlights from my visit.
The Brexit Bayeux Tapestry was great fun (despite its origins and stance which are contrary to my own preferences), entitled Bye-EU it takes the visual style of the original and references familiar themes such as the famous red bus. It is pro-Brexit (one of the rare pieces on the side of Brexit) and was produced by the Sun newspaper in response to President Macron”s offer to loan the 950-year-old tapestry.
Trump is universally attacked in this show and here are just a couple of the visually arresting images. There are a couple of pieces featuring swastikas, designed to shock, this one takes his familiar use of the Trump name in gold on his buildings, distorting it just a little…
A full wall of magazine covers shows the strength of feeling across the world against Trump and what he stands for.
The focus comes closer to home with the 3 Billboards outside Grenfell protest, alongside other Grenfell pieces demanding answers and action after the fire that left 71 dead and a hundred homeless.
Videos show protests in South Africa, Catalonia, Turkey as well as the Women’s Marches in London and USA. A display case is full of Occupy documents and other pieces take us to Hong Kong, India, North Korea and Brazil to see their protests. There are fascinating glimpses of protests across the world, some of which have not made out own news agendas.
One small exhibit which caught my attention was a book of detailing suicides due to the last economic crisis when estimates are that 10,000 people killed themselves between 2008 and 2013 due to the crisis. Individual stories are given a page each, heartbreaking in their starkness and bleak in the insight we are given into the despair of each person.
I recommend visiting this exhibition which, despite the sadness of its title and many of its pieces, does have some signs of hope and I was left with this wonderful thought from Oscar Wilde, reminding us that we can all impact the world around us if we just do something…
For information about the Design Museum and entry to this exhibition visit their website: designmuseum.org
Full disclosure: As is customary in this travel and tourism industry, I was invited by the Design Museum to review this exhibition. My views, however, are all my own as are the photos.