Auditorium, National Library, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Long before anyone could have conceived of foreign powers interfering with elections or the corrosive power of social media, there existed something simple but effective: the political advertisement. Seductively written and knowingly illustrated, they were designed to scratch itches and appeal to self-interest. ‘Dog whistle politics’? It started back in the 1930s.
Political advertisements have been largely overlooked in historical surveys of art and design styles and movements in this country. However, this does not mean they should be written out of our history. If anything the ads in the book have made history.
Covering 27 elections over 80 years, and with close to 600 images sourced from national collections, archives, private collections and the political parties themselves, the book contains a treasure trove of campaign advertisements from the first election of the modern era in 1938 to today; from the early advertisements which are remarkably text-dense compared to modern political ads that are not much more than an image and a slogan—big on aspiration, short on detail. In addition to the ads, the book brims with implicit and explicit social commentary.
Claire’s talk will focus on a variety of political campaigns that have shaped the way we think about and perceive our politicians, political parties and issues of the day. You don’t want to miss it!
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Last updated on Thursday 05 September 2019