Visual Culture

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Missing The Point

Good 50X70 is a humanitarian effort that just completed its second annual competition. Their mission is to cultivate a creative community that channels its talents for the greater good by addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time. More to the point, Good 50×70’s competitions provide an excellent venue for designers to unite and share their ideas and individual perspectives while bringing awareness to specific social concerns. We are proud supporters and participants of Good 50X70.

Overall, the quality of the submissions were very competitive, but while browsing through the 2008 submissions, we found considerable discrepancies with some of the selected posters. It’s our opinion that as creative individuals, we should always strive to communicate on a universal level and deliver a clear message. Unfortunately, there are a couple of pieces that appear to be completely disconnected from the AMREF brief (see here).

The aim of the Water Scarcity poster series is to raise awareness regarding the lack of clean drinking water available within the continent of Africa. Two posters from this particular category caused us pause. Each of these pieces fail to convey AMREF’s endorsement on water scarcity and are sorely misguided and apathetic in their approach towards this continental issue.

Poster 1: “Got Water?” (see above)
This poster fails in its communication on almost every level, but it’s the imagery that deserves sharp criticism.

First off, the image and copy is a play off of the famed American “Got Milk?” campaign. This piece suggests somewhat of a commercialized Western sentiment, rather than conveying a substantial universal message.

Secondly the image of the young boy is disrespectful, as well as arrogant, in it’s tone and representation. In essence, it’s a mockery of the very real struggle that many Africans endure on a daily basis. The child’s torn, disheveled shirt with one nipple showing; the cocky smirk on the face, not to mention the doo-rag on his head, is appalling. This poster appears to be making light of Good 50X70’s intentions and what it is committed to represent.

Poster 2: “Give Me Water”

Here’s another one that missed the mark. Initially when we came across this one, we couldn’t help but to notice the artists choice in the animalistic depiction of what we assume is supposed to be an African person begging for water. Truth be told, this doesn’t seem to be in line with Good 50X70’s mission in the least. The image is crude, abrasive and ignorant in its tone, graphic treatment and message. It’s unfortunate that individuals continue to indulge in such insipid tendencies.

posted by Oberholtzer Creative Staff at 10:12 pm  

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