Posters (2), '20 Years of (R)evolution', colour print on paper, designed by Design Nation, printed by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1998
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (previously the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras - until 1989) originated in June 1978 as a political demonstration march advocating the civil rights of homosexual people in Australia. The Mardi Gras has since become an annual calendar of events which include the Mardi Gras parade (February/March) and Sleaze Ball (September/October) as the headline events. The Mardi Gras parade is one of Sydney's most spectacular annual festivals with state, national and international appeal.
The presence of the poster complements the Museum's extensive collection of Mardi Gras posters, the earliest dating from the late 1970s. Collectively the posters demonstrate the role of grassroots activism, cultural development and graphic design in the gay community and wider Australian society as well as the major annual events that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras contribute to the community and cultural life of Sydney and Australia.
This poster is part of the visual campaign designed by Australian graphic design firm Design Nation on commission for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The poster is designed to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival in 1998.
The poster is significant as it highlights the ideals and activities of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the community they represented throughout their initial 20 years.
The poster features nine icons revolving around a baby's head (a symbol of joy, hope and expectation), each of the icons have been chosen to represent the history and development of the Mardi Gras Festival:
* A globe demonstrates the growth of the Mardi Gras to an event with international appeal, and the multicultural nature of the gay and lesbian community;
* A butterfly, taken from the South American gay movement, has been used throughout the Mardi Gras as a symbol of transformation and living openly - the butterfly appeared on the first two Mardi Gras posters in 1978 and 1979;
* A fur covered cup refers to lesbian sexuality as well as the traditional gift of bone china for a twentieth anniversary;
* A mirror ball acknowledges the history of dance and celebration associated with the festival;
* The crown represents the pageantry of the parade and the presence of "queens" within the gay community;
* The nipple ring signifies sex, fetish and desire;
* A heart tattoo with the banner "dreams and memories" reminds of love, friendship, and the gay and lesbian men and women who come before them;
* A pool ball represents the many sporting and group events throughout the Mardi Gras Festival - the substitution of the number eight with the double headed hammer, a feminist-lesbian symbol of the 1970s, denotes solidarity; and
* The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras logo.
Leah Domanski, Curatorial Administrative Assistant 2008
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, 'News for members', No 3, January 1998.
The poster was designed by Design Nation in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1998. The poster was commissioned by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the twentieth anniversary festival of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, 1998.