Celebrate People's History: Jana Sanskriti

Morgan F.P. Andrews
GVSU Collection
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
January 2011
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
An orange, brown, yellow, and white poster where two people are holding up a poster that says "Jana Sanskriti" and are looking at each other and holding arms up to one another. Beneath them it says "Forum theater in India". Below them is a row of hands reaching up and then at the bottom there is text that reads: “Jana Sanskriti (Bengali for “People’s Culture”) mixes Indian folk theater with the political action of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. Teams of actors perform plays in their villages, enacting the problems of rural society—patriarchy, sexism, alcoholism, religious hegemony, imperialism, political corruption—then each audience member has the opportunity to take the place of an oppressed character onstage, replaying a scene and trying to change the situation by breaking the oppression. This “Forum Theater” is a rehearsal for reality: the entire community sees issues from many perspectives along with their possible alternatives, and ideas that were tested and worked onstage can then be adopted into everyday life. By touring and returning to villages several times, Jana Sanskriti multiplies their movement, fostering more Forum Theater teams who answer the needs of their communities. In this way, millions of people participate in Jana Sanskriti’s work of dismantling oppression and changing society.”
Historical Context:
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced political propaganda. These posters embody democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of the past. Unlike most political posters, the posters part of the Celebrate People’s History series tell the stories of the underdogs, those individuals and groups helping to move forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more just world. For 20 years, over 130 different posters have been displayed on the streets of over a dozen cities representing over 150 artists and writers. The Celebrate People’s History Poster Series has been organized and curated by Josh MacPhee since 1998.