6 Powerful Protest Posters By Peter Kennard
Peter Kennard was born in London in 1949 and began studying at The Slade School of Fine Art in 1967. While there, he became involved with anti-Vietnam War protests and decided to move away from painting to find a medium more suited to his activism. He began working with different photographs, cutting them and joining them together to create new pictures, with new messages. In the 1970s his work had only a small audience but this grew in the 1980s during the protests surrounding cruise missiles and the revival of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
At the time CND were still using images from the Ministry of Defense in their campaigns, which Kennard believed lessened the effectiveness of their message. He felt that CND were unaware of the power of using art in their campaigns and began creating images for them. He also wanted to challenge some of the images, produced during the Cold War, that had become acceptable in popular culture. He felt photomontages were a particularly effective way of tackling Cold War issues because the messages contained within them were harder to manipulate. Although Kennard created a great deal of work for CND, he was never officially a member.
Kennard has been heavily influenced by the Cold War, especially relating to anti-war protests and nuclear disarmament. He has never been paid for any of the artwork he created for protest groups. Instead, he wants to encourage people to think about what is happening around them, believing that artists with strong political views should express them in their work.
Here are six of Kennard's powerful protest posters.
You can explore more of Peter Kennard's work in the first major retrospective of his 45-year career – Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist – at IWM London now.
‘Use Your Loaf’, Peter Kennard © The artist (Art.IWM PST 9147)
‘Never Again’, Peter Kennard ©The artist (Art.IWM PST 9152)
‘Title Page, Target London 1’, A Set of Photomontage Posters on Civil Defence in London, 1985, Peter Kennard ©The artist ( Art.IWM ART 16020 1)
‘Cruising on London, Target London 5’, A Set of Photomontage Posters on Civil Defence in London, Peter Kennard © (Art.IWM ART 16020 5)
‘World War III, Target London 7', A Set of Photomontage Posters on Civil Defence in London, Peter Kenard ©The artist (Art.IWM ART 16020 7)
‘For Londoners Safety, Target London 16’, A Set of Photomontage Posters on Civil Defence in London, Peter Kennard ©The artist (Art.IWM ART 16020 16)
This article was edited by Gemma Lawrence. Several IWM staff members contributed to an older version of this piece.