The Peace Sign

PAZ

I am really interested by how iconic signs or symbols may be appropriated by others and used for the greater good – or sometimes not. Their use conveys a kind of short-hand to the point that’s being made and adds strength as a result.

Recently in Spain I saw our featured image. “Paz” – “Peace” in Spanish – with the word spray painted red above a crude version of Gerald Haltom’s CND Peace Sign also sprayed in red. I am told that this graffiti only recently appeared and I am hoping that it is use is in support of the international campaign aimed at engaging the two knuckle-headed leaders of the US and North Korea. A simple and very powerful statement.

PS shirt 1

A saw a piece on the Women’s Protest at Greenham Common, a nearly twenty year occupation of land adjacent to an RAF airbase used to store US nuclear weapons in leafy Berkshire. Still two decades later both sides claimed victory for the de-escalation in the Soviet threat. Whoever was the catalyst for change is immaterial, the fear engendered by the presence of the nuclear threat remains the same.

Greenham Common

In May this year, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love I looked at Peace Sign and The Summer of Love Mr Haltom’s sign, like me, turns sixty in 2018 and whilst I suspect he was unpaid for his original design its use – including undoubted commercial use – and the essence of the messages it invariably accompanies continues to resonate.

There are, of course, a huge number of rip-offs – some would say “homages” – to this beautiful and simple sign. We must hope that their use contributes towards a greater global understanding of the message of Peace that lies at the heart of the original design.

 

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