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Poster - Solidarity

Solidarity

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    Poland (probably, designed and printed)

  • Date:

    1980-1989 (designed and printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Janiszewski, Jerzy, born 1953 (logo designer)
    Solidarity Independent Trade Union (issued by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph printed in red on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.2217-1990

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Y, shelf 77, box E

The Solidarity logo was designed by Jerzy Janiszewski in August 1980. The word ‘solidarity’ appeared frequently on walls of Gdansk Shipyard. It was also the name of the strike newsletter and soon became the official name of the Free Trade Unions. The form of the logo was inspired by slogans written and stenciled on walls during the strike. The letters form the shape of people joined together in a dense crowd. The typical socialist motif of a leader conducting a crowd is replaced by the national Polish flag. The logo of the trade union soon became legible and well-known spreading quickly within the borders of Poland and abroad. The Solidarity logo became the source of a typeface called ‘Solidarics’ (Solidaryca). ‘Solidarics’ has almost become a Polish national typeface. It is often used for logos and slogans which refer to Poland in general as well for content relating to themes of nationalism freedom and democracy.

On June 4th 2009, the 20th anniversary of the first semi-free elections in the Eastern Bloc, the logos of most of the Polish daily newspapers and web services were written in Solidarics. The action was supervised by Jerzy Janiszewski. At the same time an issue of a gay magazine, discussing the question of gay rights in contemporary Poland also used Solidarics on its cover. In this instance the references to Solidarity have several layers of meaning, evoking the origins of the 3rd Republic of Poland and the values of freedom, democracy and equality in general. Although there are Solidarics fonts available on the market, there is in fact no established shape for the letters beyond the form of the original Solidarity logo. Many different symbols appropriate the Solidarity logo in their colour, hand-written style, characteristically bound letters and the presence of the flag.

Solidarity, founded in September 1980, was the first free trade union in an Eastern Bloc country. It became the leading political force opposing the communist regime in Poland. Eventually the Polish Government was forced to negotiate with the Solidarity-led opposition, resulting in semi-free elections on 4th June 1989. This marked a crucial stage in the democratic transformation of Central and Eastern Europe.

Physical description

Poster

Place of Origin

Poland (probably, designed and printed)

Date

1980-1989 (designed and printed)

Artist/maker

Janiszewski, Jerzy, born 1953 (logo designer)
Solidarity Independent Trade Union (issued by)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph printed in red on paper

Dimensions

Height: 29.8 cm, Width: 42 cm

Descriptive line

Poster by Jerzy Janiszewski for the Solidarity trade union movement. Poland, 1980s.

Materials

Printing ink

Techniques

Printing

Categories

Prints; Propaganda; Politics; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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