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Alfredo Rostgaard, Black Power, 1968

By Maeve Coudrelle | October 18, 2017
Poster of a black panther with red eyes and a large white jaw, open with teeth bared. Inside the jaw is the text “Black Panther.”

Alfredo Rostgaard, Black Power, 1968

Collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Cuban graphic designer Alfredo Rostgaard (1943-2004) worked with numerous agencies to create political posters that emphasized revolutionary efforts, social justice, and global solidarity. Black Power was produced for the Organization of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL), where Rostgaard served as artistic director. A non-governmental organization, OSPAAAL included eighty-two Asian, Latin American, and African countries at its inaugural conference, held in Havana in January, 1966. Until 1990, OSPAAAL circulated Tricontinental magazine, which included color political posters in most issues. 

Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers. Produced and directed by Dress Code, 2015.

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In this poster, Rostgaard expresses solidarity with the Black Power movement, foregrounding a roaring, red-eyed panther. Distributed in the U.S., the poster was later re-purposed by the Black Panther Party, who as part of the campaign for Huey Newton’s release from prison, included a photograph of Newton in the panther’s jaws. On their end, OSPAAAL often featured prints by Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party Minister of Culture and designer of The Black Panther publication, in Tricontinental. Rostgaard’s work demonstrates the productive exchange that animated protest movements’ interconnected visual programs—particularly in the sixties and seventies.

Emory Douglas: 2015 AIGA Medalist. American Institute of Graphic Arts, 2015.

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On the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, we have published a poster that is now being circulated all over the world. We are sending you herewith a certain amount of these posters, which may be used in your country for the activities to be carried out in this regard.

OSPAAAL mimeographed message accompanying mailings of Black Power poster

Sources

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.

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