Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PEN Canada Campaign Poster

A mock poster campaign designed for the independent, non-profit organization PEN Canada. PEN Canada is committed to defending freedom of opinion and peaceable expression on behalf of writers worldwide who are mortally persecuted for elucidating necessary truths. The authors and journalists they support confront a variety of dangers for their craft. They often become embroiled into wars, imprisoned, exiled, live as refugees and are intimidated by tyrannical government regimes/gangs. Even in democratic countries, writers are the target of censorship. Despite being stifled in their native homeland, their voices must be heard and their passion for communication undeterred. On November 15, PEN Canada honours the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. In November 2005, one of these honoured victims was Roya Toloui, a Kurdish journalist, human rights activist and feminist. After discovering a very unsettling interview about the horrors she experienced in an Iranian prison, I chose to make her plight to subject of my poster. Simple enough, the silhouette created by a woman in a burqa (in essence, a mobile prison and global symbol of male subjugation) is fitted with a damaged letter containing the wise words of Toloui who exhorts politically active Iranian women to be fearless link.

This painting was a nightmare to complete. I aimed for a fully traditional rendering which included the figure, background and calligraphy. I had no intention of doing the type digitally in fear of losing the integrity of flawed handwritten script. Well…after placing a graphite transfer on the painting and trying to ink the letters in…I made countless mistakes and my hopeful experiment failed. I was forced to re-paint a good quarter of the figure over again. Alas, I was unable to correct the imprint of the type beneath the newly applied layers of paint. After my merciful professor allowed for an extension, I used a buddy combination of Photoshop and Illustrator to salvage the piece :). As for the Islamic wedding henna on the girl’s hand, I referenced photos of original henna designs that my friend Rachael had done for me. Thank you for your artistry Rachael :) 

The henna designs were inspired by those done for me by my talented friend Rachael, a fellow student in third year Sheridan Illustration. Thank you Rachael for your artistry :)

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