Celebrate People's History: Lick Your Elbow

Josh MacPhee
GVSU Collection
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
May 2018
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
Poster is titled "This is a poster that is entirely text, in shades of green and red. The text is all vertically orientated but are all different sizes. Text reads "In mid-2012, protests erupted in Khartoum in opposition to the quarter-century reign of Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party. Begun by female students protesting against austerity and high prices, within a week it had spread, involving tens of thousands—and this is a context were all signs of dissent are brutally suppressed. The protests were organized under the slogan “Lick your elbow,” a Sudanese saying for attempting to achieve the impossible. Marches and a general strike led to intense and bloody clashes with the police, and while the regime was not overthrown, the people of Sudan proved to themselves that they could organize and build power."
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.