Learn Well and Progress Daily - Posters from the Chinese Cultural Revolution

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Special Collections staff
Chinese cultural revolution, posters
This exhibition presented images of youth in propaganda posters produced during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976. Chairman Mao Zedong called on all youth to build a new China in accord with Communist and Maoist ideologies. The boldly coloured, dynamic posters show youth as eager students and fervent Red Guards. Youth are also represented as diligent, selfless soldiers (as in the portrayal of Lei Feng) and as leaders of tomorrow (as in the iconic figure of young Mao). During the Cultural Revolution, propaganda posters were a primary means of communication and, at a time when access to information was limited, millions were created and widely circulated. Mao rejected the idea of "art for art's sake" and claimed that politics should be the purpose of art, to promote socialist goals for the people. The vibrant posters in this exhibition provided points of access to a time of great change in Chinese history. They not only demonstrated the role of posters in disseminating Party ideology but also showed how youth embodied hope for the future of China. The posters were selected from the Evelyn Reid Broadside Collection of approximately 50 posters, held in the W.D. Jordan Special Collections Library. Evelyn Reid, who was the Dean of Women at Queen's University from 1971-1980, collected the posters during a visit to China in 1973. During her tenure as Dean of Women, she exhibited the posters at Victoria Hall Residence and other campus locations. The exhibit was curated by Laurie Dalton, a graduate student in Art History, Queen's University, as part of the Art Centre Practicum in Contemporary Art.
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