Poster Art at Thorne-Sagendorph
At a time when political animosity and cultural mistrust are being tolerated and even encouraged by the ignorant and powerful, artistic cooperation and mutual respect hold an ever-more important role in our global social fabric. “The Seattle-Havana-Tehran Poster Show,” currently on exhibit at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery in Keene, New Hampshire, is exemplary in demonstrating the communality and shared purpose of poster artists from three major international cities: Seattle, Havana and Tehran.
In 2007, graphic artist Daniel R. Smith of Seattle and co-curator Pepe Menéndez of Havana launched “The Seattle-Havana Poster Show,” which forged a working bond between the two artists, and subsequently between the poster art communities of both cities. Relations with Cuba had not been normalized at the time, yet the project was met with appreciation and acclaim.
“When I began organizing a show between Seattle and Havana, I expected resistance from somewhere, either from our side or theirs, but it never happened,” Smith said. “From start to finish, everyone I talked to was on board — designers, curators, venues.
“It really opened my eyes to the possibility of collaborating across borders because there was absolutely nothing stopping our cultural exchange, it just felt like there should be,” he continued. “The biggest barriers were in my mind because I’d been trained to think of certain countries as inaccessible. The reality was quite different, I just needed the will to do it.”