Say Nothing

A poster / cd cover that I made for Mumbai's own Slow Down Clown, a wonderful band fronted by Vitek Goyel. I tried a few versions that didn't really work and then scoured my library for old political pictures and posters for inspiration. Found this one in Kajri Jain's fantastic Gods in the Bazaar, which is a book about India's mass-produced bazaar art that I had read for a class at CSCS.

The image that has been cropped and appropriated is from Indira Gandhi's notorious "Garibi Hatao" campaign, a campaign that helped her sweep into power in the 1971 election. If you look closely, and if you're one those (at times annoying) people who believes that images should always adhere to the conventions of realism, you might quickly notice that the picture falls short in terms of its verisimilitude.

Both the mic and the baby exist in a visual regime that has no intention of adhering to the codes of realism. These babies, often of ambiguous gender and race, were extremely popular in the political iconography of the time. They were projected repeatedly to symbolize the paternalistic and transcendental authority of the incipient secular state. Jain writes of the  original poster, which proclaims to us “Garibi Hatao” in both English and in Hindi, "We as viewers are invited to identify with the adoring “masses”, but at the same time, to the extent that we can read the slogan, to distance ourselves from them and identify with the infantile citizenship... made available for us within the realms of a transcendent and patriarchal yet democratic state.”

I appropriated it here, perhaps problematically, but mostly facetiously, as I felt it worked with the album's title “Say Nothing.”

P.S. The font used is Atelier Carvalho Bernau's recently released Jean-Luc typeface.