Posters Promoting Human And Labor Rights On Display




(from the Falmouth Enterprise, 3/23)

With the reopening of the Falmouth Public Library, patrons will again be able to enter the building, choose books and enjoy the changing art exhibits on view on the main level of the library.

An interesting and timely exhibit will be on view at the library for the month of April. The exhibit is titled “Human Rights/Labor Rights” and it consists of about 40 posters from the collection of Stephen Lewis. The exhibit highlights violations of peoples’ human and labor rights round the world, and what those rights are. The posters hail from several countries including the United States, Turkey, Canada, Tunisia, France and Germany. Through graphics and written word, they address issues of political assassinations, torture, the death penalty, worker rights and other human rights.

One poster enumerates the human rights as promulgated by the United Nations. Many countries have ratified many of these rights, but many countries do not practice several of them. Many of the posters are from Amnesty International, one of the preeminent human rights organizations in the world. The organization works through education, research, lobbying, and letter-writing campaigns.

Mr. Lewis encourages people to view the exhibit regardless of their attitudes and think about the issues the posters speak to.

The posters are from a collection of more than 9,000 posters owned by Mr. Lewis, who has been collecting political posters for 20 years. He has been staging exhibits around Massachusetts for the past 18 years. Many of the posters are older but still reflect events that impact us today. One current poster is from the military takeover in Myanmar.

Mr. Lewis attributes his love for the posters and creating exhibits to his background as a political activist and a union leader. He states that many of his exhibits reflect issues he has been involved in over the course of his life. An example is his collection of anti-Apartheid posters. Mr. Lewis and his union were very involved in the anti-Apartheid struggle in Massachusetts, particularly in solidarity with the unions in South Africa. Mr. Lewis was once arrested during a sit-in at a Boston coin dealer that refused to stop selling the South African Kruggerand gold coins. For more information about the posters Mr. Lewis can be contacted at

The exhibit was supported in part by a grant from the Falmouth Cultural Council.

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