Alberto Blanco, Poster, World Solidarity with Puerto Rico, 1981
This poster by Alberto Blanco, proclaiming global solidarity with Puerto Rico, was produced for the Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL). From 1966 to 1990, OSPAAAL circulated posters expressing support for international protest movements, with a particular focus on resistance to U.S. and European imperialism. Blanco’s poster depicts the Statue of Liberty draped in the U.S. flag, holding in her upraised arm the Puerto Rican flag, substituting her usual torch. The chain originally restraining the Puerto Rican flag – fastening it to the statue – has been broken.
Pairing a foremost symbol of U.S. freedom with the shackles of bondage, Blanco crafts a clear indictment of the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship. He also makes reference to Frederic Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, and his initial plans to include broken chains on the statue’s left arm. French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye envisioned the statue as a way to honor emancipation. While the chains on her arm were replaced with a book in the final design, Lady Liberty still features fallen shackles at her feet. In addition to alluding to the U.S.’s contentious history of slavery and freedom, Blanco’s poster lays claim to a global anti-colonial sentiment by including the phrase, “World Solidarity with Puerto Rico,” in four different languages.
Auther, Elissa and Adam Lerner. West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965–1977. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011
Camnitzer, Luis. New Art of Cuba. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.
Cushing, Lincoln. ¡Revolución! Cuban Poster Art. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003.
Khan, Yasmin Sabina. Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.
National Park Service. “Abolition.” February 26, 2015.
Images of a variety of OSPAAAL posters displayed at Kemistry Gallery in 2009 are available through The Guardian.
The Online Archive of California has a Finding Aid for the OSPAAAL Poster Collection held in Special Collections at the University of California, Irvine.
For others OSPAAAL posters related to Puerto Rico, see Docs Populi.
Check out other posters in the Cooper Hewitt collection.