Shepard Fairey modifies ‘Hope’ poster for Occupy movement


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Shepard Fairey is perhaps one of the most politically engaged street artists working today. In recent weeks, he has lent his support to the various Occupy protests around the country, even creating a poster for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now Fairey has fashioned his biggest contribution yet to the grassroots effort -- a modified version of his famous ‘Hope’ poster that calls for President Obama to support the movement.

Fairey unveiled the new poster on his website late last week. The image, shown above, substitutes Obama’s face with a figure wearing the Guy Fawkes protest mask that has become a sartorial symbol of the Occupy rallies.


‘This image represents my support for the Occupy movement, a grassroots movement spawned to stand up against corruption, imbalance of power, and failure of our democracy to represent and help average Americans,’ the artist wrote on his site.

‘On the other hand, as flawed as the system is, I see Obama as a potential ally of the Occupy movement if the energy of the movement is perceived as constructive, not destructive.’

The text at the bottom of the poster reads: ‘Mister President, we HOPE you’re on our side.’

The Guy Fawkes masks have become a common sight among protesters of the Occupy rallies. They are a reference to the famous English historical figure who tried to blow up the House of Lords in the early 17th century. The version of the mask seen in the Occupy movement comes from the popular book ‘V for Vendetta’ and its 2006 film adaptation.

Fairey’s original ‘Hope’ poster debuted during Obama’s 2008 presidential run and featured an idealized image of the then-senator. The poster was the subject of a legal battle with the Associated Press, which contended that Fairey illegally used one of its photographs as an inspiration for the artwork.

Perhaps anticipating similar legal issues with the revised ‘Hope’ poster, Fairey wrote on his site: ‘I’m still trying to work out copyright issues I may face with this image, but feel free to share it and stay tuned...’



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-- David Ng

Image credit: Shepard Fairey