Posters of the Cultural Revolution

Contemporary Chinese perspectives on an era of propaganda

Research project leader: Professor Harriet Evans

(In collaboration with Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, UTS, and funded by the Australian Research Council)

This project re-evaluates the Cultural Revolution through an analysis of revolutionary propaganda in China in the 1960s and 1970s. Focussing on political posters, and eliciting perspectives from the memories of those represented in poster art, as well as professional image-makers contemporary both to that period and to the present era, the research will identify the continuing influence of propaganda as a medium for public communication, as an art form and as a visual repository of personal recollection. Oral histories and analyses of extant visual material will contribute to a critical review of the received history of the period. The project will last three years, and allows for the training of PhD candidates as well as for extensive ethnographically based fieldwork in China.

The work will culminate in a bilingual (English, Chinese) permanent online exhibition, and scholarly publications in both languages.

The background to this work has been established by Evans' and Donalds' former research on CSD's Chinese Poster Collection, and by a number of related activities and events. Professor Ai Xiaoming (Zhongshan University) and the independent documentary film makter Hu Jie, visited CSD as Visiting Research Fellows in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Out of their work have emerged two documentary films, 'Painting for the Revolution', and 'The Cultural Revolution, The Propaganda, the Posters.' She also organised (October 2007) a symposium, funded by the British Academy, on 'Face and Place: Visibility and Invisibility in Chinese Posters.'