A famous revolutionary of Irish descent and the artwork by an Irish artist that became one of the world’s great iconic images, all come together in a stamp which has just been issued by An Post.
Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, the quintessential left-wing revolutionary was killed in South America in 1967. An Post has chosen the 50th anniversary of his death to issue the stamp featuring the famous image of ‘Che’ by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.
The stamp (€1), designed by Red&Grey, is based on Jim Fitzpatrick’s artwork, which appears on t shirts, posters, badges and clothing worldwide and is now rated among the world’s top 10 most iconic images.
Posters from a revolutionary artist for the year that’s in it.
I was compelled to start the Irish Revolutionaries Print Collection when I saw how the government was attempting to airbrush the he roes of 1916 from history, not mentioning them in the centenary celebrations. If I ask, who are the seven signatories of the Irish proclamation? or what it is? a frightening amount of Irish people have no idea.
I have spent the last 40 years as an artist and writer creating hundreds of artworks and four books on our ancient myths and legends, of which few are known, in order to help preserve our rich heritage so that to be Irish is not reduced to a drunken St. Patrick’s holiday where the only symbols of Ireland are the shamrock and leprechaun.
I think it shameful, when you look at how well the Founding Fathers of the United States are remembered, that men and women who gave their lives so that Ireland might be free are so thoughtlessly forgotten. It is our privilege to live in a time when Ireland is free. It is our obligation to remember.
I’ve done this before. In 1968 I created one of the most famous images of a revolutionary in history with the now iconic Ché Guevara poster. I want the images of our founders and the Irish Proclamation to proliferate.
The Irish Proclamation is as relevant a document today as it was one hundred years ago. It’s principles, still not implemented, worth fighting for.
We Will Remember!
PS if you are a victim of the recession like most of us and can not afford these prints I have free digital print versions for download, so please feel free to download and print them for yourself and your family.
Artist Robert Ballagh (left), and James Connolly‘s great grandson, James Connolly Heron (right), presenting Stephen Rea, with a Jim Fitzpatrick limited edition print of the Scotland-born socialist martry as part of ‘Reclaim the Vision of 1916’.
Reclaim the Vision of 1916 is a group of artists, academics, trade unionists, community activists, journalists and other interested citizens who believe Ireland can be “reinvigorated by the ideals of the signatories of the Proclamation”.
Also that there can be no “equivalence between those who died in the struggle to create an Irish Republic and those who perished in defence of the British Empire”.
Jim Fitzpatrick who created the genuinely iconic Che Guevara poster (above) in 1968 (based on a photo by Alberto Korda) has written to today’s Irish Times to take Declan Ganley to task over his opposition to a memorial to the revolutionary in Galway.
It was ever thus.
From Jim’s website:
“But Ireland was the weirdest: Every shop that stocked the poster was threatened or harassed: in the very fashionable Brown Thomas of Grafton Street, which sold cards and posters in those faraway days, a well-turned out lady bought the entire stock, tore them all to pieces in front of the astonished staff and walked out! I remember the late Ms O’Flaherty and Ms King of Parsons Bookshop on Baggot Street bridge [Dublin], who were great supporters of my art – as they were of every artist and writer in Dublin – getting really upset at the hostility directed towards the poster, which hung proudly in their front window. Despite threats to break their windows they refused to take it down and I was so proud every time I passed that little shop run by two most educated, kind and most educated, kind and charming Dubliners who devoted their lives to the artists and writers of this city. “