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'Rainbow' posters on display


Brigid Veale
13 March 2007
A unique exhibition of local poster art from the 1970s to the 1990s, titled ‘Rainbow Posters 1973 – 1994’, will be on display at the Southern Cross University Lismore campus library from March 23.

Exhibition organiser Mr Graham Irvine said the 1973 Aquarius Festival at Nimbin attracted hundreds and then thousands of ‘new settlers’ to the Northern Rivers (called the Rainbow Region), many of whom brought with them skills in artwork and graphic design.

“They used these skills to create posters advertising local dances, fetes, markets and concerts and it is a selection of these posters that can be seen in this exhibition,” Mr Irvine said.

“The 1980s and 90s saw the arrival of new subcultures spawning new festivals and the expansion of the local college into a university saw the growth of student social culture.

“New settler artists brought skills in graphic design and local posters morphed art deco and psychedelic styles with bush themes and self-parodying humour. Posters were hand-drawn, silk-screened, roneoed and offset printed before photocopiers were common.

“The works are now collectable items and many who visit the exhibition will remember seeing them pasted and pinned to fences and trees, to telegraph poles and noticeboards, in shop windows, cafes and walls around Lismore, Mullumbimby, Byron Bay and many hinterland villages.”

In selecting which posters to display the curators have tried to choose works from the widest time and geographical range or posters relating to historically significant local events.

“Whatever the reason for its inclusion, every poster tells a story and together they document a slice of the visual history of the new settlers in the Rainbow Region,” Mr Irvine said.

The exhibition is being hosted by The Aquarian Archive group and Southern Cross University.

It will be launched at 6pm, on Thursday, March 22 at the Southern Cross University library exhibition space. RSVP by Monday, March 19 to Libby Pownall on 66203539 or [email protected]

The exhibition will be open from 9am to 5pm Mondays to Thursdays and from 1pm to 5pm on Saturdays until April 5.

Photo: Libby Pownall, who works in the Southern Cross University library, with one of the Rainbow posters which will be on display from March 23.