THE POLITICAL POSTER: Herbert Hoover, Hindi, etc etc.

11Apr11

The Hoover Institution Political Poster Database is a rich resource of international political posters dating back to the early 20th century. When reviewing the collection of American Posters (over 10,000 of them!) my curiosity got the best of me and I headed into a much smaller but equally compelling collection of Political Posters from India. What struck me the most was the time period from which these posters originated- 1939-1945. A pivotal moment for India for those that don’t know, because these  years marked the time preceding their emancipation from British rule and the Partition that formed Pakistan as its own separate state.

This poster is particularly striking in that it depicts Lahore, a city now part of Pakistan. Note the English type and how it contrasts with the very South East Asian artwork/imagery.

What I found most interesting in the collection was the typography and the stark contrast to the imagery and style of art. Not only is hindi not found in any of the posters, we see very Western (as in the Great Midwest) typography utilized. Additionally, there is Urdu in those that don’t have English typography. This is also very indicative of the times because Urdu (a mixture of Persian, Turkish, and Arabic) was soon to be adopted as one of the official languages of Pakistan.

Where is the Hindi? Where is the integration of beautiful South East Asian lettering and imagery? Ugh colonization fail.

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