Eight years after artist Shepard Fairey created the iconic red and blue Barack Obama "Hope" poster, he and a team of artists have created a new series of public artworks for the inauguration. Named “We the People” after the first three words in the preamble to the Constitution, the series features Muslim-American, African-American, Native American, Latina, and Lesbian women.
"As artists, it is always important to create work with positive uplifting messages, but even more so during these divisive times,” photographer Ridwan Adhami told NBC News. “There is a need to balance all the negativity swirling around. We have a responsibility to the youth in our communities, we need to give them something to look up to that can hopefully inspire and encourage strength. That is what the ‘We The People’ campaign is all about, and I am proud and honored to be part of the movement."
The series of red and blue images were created by Adhami, Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, Ernesto Yerena, Delphine Diallo, Ayse Gursoz, and Arlene Mejorado. They were commissioned by The Amplifier Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises the voices of grassroots movements through art and community engagement.
The Amplifier Foundation also commissioned another series of artwork for the Women’s March on Washington, which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 21, a day after the inauguration.
The organization plans to flood Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day with the images. Anticipating severe restrictions on signs and banners, the organization plans to place the images as full-page newspaper ads in the Washington Post, so that people can easily carry them into the streets, hang them in windows, and paste them on walls.
The organization will also create and distribute prints, posters, and signs with the images. After the inauguration, they also plan to mail postcards to the incoming president with the images.
“Art is what shapes movements; it's our catharsis, our call to action,” artist Jessia Sabogal told NBC News. “But in the end, social change must come from people working together to change our economic and political system."
The project’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for printing and advertisements raised over $500,000 in the first 72 hours, and has now raised more than $1.2 million. In coming months, organizers plan to host conversations about the meaning of “We the People” with partner organizations, schools, and families.