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Posters in Africa

A popular, and individual, placard culture has developed in many African states: placards are sold as calenders or posters and hung in homes and semi-public places, such as lottery booths, eateries and bars. Many of these placards have been influenced by the european tradition used by many sign-writers in the 80s. 

On display is a collection of c. 90 present day placards from Benin, Ghana and Nigeria. Placards such as these inspire the trends developed by hair-dressers, dress makers and cabinetmakers, and provide a commentary on the latest world current events, practise social criticism and encourage reform.

Some placards vividly show how State-run (and non-State run) organisations attempt to publicise their campaigns against such problems as HIV and domestic violence. Placards used as election propaganda are also on view. 

In addition to the placards, collected in West Africa by the Frankfurt-born enthnologist Wendelin Schmidt for this exhibition, the Historische Museum in Frankfurt have contributed four historical cartoons, dating from 19th Century Europe.

The exhibits are displayed in eight rooms in Galerie 37, and are thematically grouped together as follows: European cartoons; Placards by the Nigerian painter R. Nkwonta; football placards, Ghanaian poster for funeral celebrations; educational placards, Campaigns, Crafts and Fashion, Current politics, social criticism, Secret economy; True Life Stories, Lottery booths; Videos, Christian and Muslim calender placards.