Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife – A history of protest Christmas cards

Saturday October 27th 2012

1pm – 3.30pm, Newport Museum & Art Gallery

Opening event: Four veteran activists have been invited to speak at the opening: Hanif Bhanjee, former secretary Wales Anti Apartheid; Ray Davies, left wing activist; Ray Lawrence, former NUM and Jill Gough, Wales CND
BOOK LAUNCH: An accompanying book Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife by Llew and Pam Smith will be launched at the opening and will be available to buy for a reduced price of £12 (RRP £14.99). This free event is open to the public and includes refreshments and musical entertainment from The Chartists and Roy Zeal

Also ‘Through disobedience we progress’ is an exhibition of newly commissioned radical Christmas card designs which complement Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife.  The designs reflect the spirit of Llew and Pam Smith’s collection and feature work by thirteen contemporary artists and designers including: Jamie Reid, Jeff Pigott and Julia Warin, Brian Jones, Control, Jon Langford, Maurice Burns, Terry Sandhu, David J Morris, David Mabb, Chris Partridge, Robert Rubbish, Jac Saorsa and Steve Smith.  Themes include animal rights, greed and social justice, free speech, anti-war, austerity and anti-cuts, consumerism/capitalism, peace and anti-nuclear sentiment.
The designs will be available for sale as limited edition cards during the exhibition, individually and as a set.
GLAD TIDINGS OF STRUGGLE AND STRIFE:
“This is a welcome and often surprising collection that adds to our  understanding of how people have talked about their values and hopes for the future at a time of the year that encourages reflection and goodwill.”  Ken Livingstone
Through the collection the exhibition explores some of the familiar, ongoing struggles of ordinary people for social justice, human, civil and equal rights.  Many of the cards are as relevant and poignant today as when they were first produced.
“… be prepared, for this is not a history of the humble Christmas card with messages described by one of their early designers as “unconsidered trifles”, but a record of much of the political, industrial and social turmoil since the mid-19th century.  Many of these cards portray the words and deeds of those who, in the face of injustice, refused to remain silent and accept that nothing could be done. …… seen as a threat to the established order and are often described as “rebels” or “revolutionaries”.  However, many have helped to mould our history and have been responsible for much of the advances made, when, too often, we were taught it was the result of the so-called contributions by kings, queens, generals and landowners.  As activists, we had the privilege of campaigning alongside many of these truly remarkable ‘rebels’, most of whom never received a mention in our history books, but nevertheless, we are still indebted to them.”  Llew Smith, 2012
THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE WE PROGRESS:  Jamie Reid is best known for the graphic montage designs for the sex pistols in the late 1970’s, his work has consistently maintained a political edge;  Jon Langford is a musician from Newport often associated with the ‘left’ he now lives in Chicago, his bands include the Mekons and The Three Johns; David Mabb works almost exclusively with original William Morris designs, subverting, exploiting and reinvigorating their political potential;  Jeff Pigott and Julia Warin often work together on projects with a political, socially commentative theme; David J Morris is a designer with longstanding roots within the activist tradition; Control, Chris Partridge and Terry Sandhu all live and work in the Newport area and often producing work of a satirical nature;  Steve Smith (brother of Llew) is a graduate of Newport Art School, he has been producing radical Christmas cards for several decades;  Maurice Burns is an artist and illustrator living in Manchester, and artist Robert Rubbish lives in London – both create works which often reflects a social, political dimension;  Brian Jones is a contemporary pop artist living in mid-Wales and Jac Saorsa is a drawing specialist and academic from Cardiff.
We hope you can join us – for more information please visit
www.newport.gov.uk/artgallery<http://www.newport.gov.uk/artgallery  or www.facebook/newport-art-gallery<http://www.facebook/newport-art-gallery

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