These street posters live in the moment
Sahmat, The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, marks the 30th National Street Theatre Day on April 12, at the Sahmat office, 29 Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi. The National Street Theatre Day was initiated after the murder of Safdar Hashmi in 1989 and falls on his birthday, April 12. Every year, Sahmat would issue a poster to send to street theatre groups across India. The beauty of these posters is its intrinsic sense of history both in terms of artistic practice as well as the visual kinetics of translating a silent protest to intolerance and prejudice towards humans.
The power of these posters lies in the balance of graphics and text-in drawing attention to the atrocities against mankind from all walks of life. The term RESIST stands out in bold letters but it is the aftermath of violence, the scars which remain that hide between the alphabets and the potent messages in the posters.
A space was left on the poster for local groups to list their performance information on the poster as a way to link the performances across India through the poster. Many of the posters would be themed on current issues of the moment - freedom of expression, communalism and collective resistance.
They were designed by Rajinder Arora, Parthiv Shah and Ram Rahman. Many are now in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
"This year's poster is on the farmer's crisis and the protests across India," says Ram Rahman.
"It also presents earlier cultural responses to farmers crisis – the Bengal famine through drawings by Chittaprosad and photographs by Sunil Janah, the films 'Dharti Ke Lal' by IPTA, 'Do Bigha Zameen' by Bimal Roy and recent graphics by Orijit Sen.