The British Council on Wednesday opened an exhibition of political cartoons and posters. It is called Upfront and Personal, and combines political art from the UK, South Africa and Mauritius. There is also a pair of books based on the exhibition. The work was the brainchild of British Council Director, Rosalind Burford.
Some of Deven T, the Mauritian cartoonist's, classic masterpieces are featured, as well as the magnificent AIDS awareness campaign run by PILS.
Readers of our web-page will also be interesed to know that 10 posters from the LALIT archives are displayed and featured in the book. They are almost all the beautiful work of graphic artist and LALIT central committee member, Alain Ah-Vee.
In particular, there is the famous STOP COMMUNALISM one that he designed for the Movement Against Communalism (MAC).
Three are LPT posters. One the newsprint poster by Alain of a page of a dictionary, designed to popularise the first ever Mauritian Kreol dictionary, pasted up in 1984. Another is Alain's LPT calendar NU FYER NU LANGAZ (We're proud of our language). The third is historically very important because it was to advertise a public lecture on AIDS, the very first public lecture on AIDS in Mauritius, 1987, by Dr. Ram Seegobin, LALIT central committee member, at a time when there was only the very first single case of a patient found to be HIV positive.
There are also three LALIT posters. There is the bright yellow LALIT printed poster mimicking a hand-painted poster, reading LINITE TRAVAYER KONT DIVISION KOMINAL (Workers' unity opposes communalism). There is also the well-known 1992 poster supporting Development Corporation Workers workers who were on strike against the casualization of labour. It has two huge photographs of demonstrations on it. And there is the anti-apartheid poster SOUTH AFRICAN CONNECTION, NON! With the scowling face in the O in the "NON" from 1990.
When LALIT ran its campaign on DISIK, KI LAVENIR? (In English the campaign was called "Sugar: What future for the Workers?", a trade union called Union of All Labourers and Artisans organized a set of Debates with an accompanying Slide Show. This was (and this is to correct a typo that's crept into the British Council booklet, at the same time) in 1983. It is still the main question of the day today. At the time, for history's sake, the slide shows were banned and Lalit members taken to Court for not having been through the Board of Censors. This poster was designed by Alain, too, using an outline drawing by Lindsey Collen, Lalit member, too.
The last two are women's movement posters, one designed by Lindsey Collen and often called "4 ti bonnfam-la" with women claiming the right to choose - referring to contraception, abortion, voluntary sterilization and divorce. This is a Muvman Liberasyon Fam poster. The other poster is a variation on an original design by Sally Couacaud for the annual International Women's Day celebration organized by Solidarite Fam's in which Lalit's women's commission and the MLF are members. It is designed around the sign of the two women's hands with the thumbs and index fingers pressed together and other fingers spread out.
The South African and UK art includes splendid cartoons.