a blog by ryan hayes

Art Deco and Colonialism

“East African Transport ~ Old Style”  (1931) and part of “East African Transport ~ New Style” (1931) by Adrian Allinson, in Graphic Design: A New History (2007) by Stephen J. Eskilson

“a number of Art Deco graphic works were commissioned to advertise the colonial empires that were a huge part of the European economy. In the face of criticism at home regarding the economic and moral issues of colonialism, both Britain and France sought to convince their own citizens of the virtues of empire. In 1926, the British government established the Empire Marketing Board, in order to persuade its citizens to do business with British colonies.”

“Pick brought to the Board the conviction that modern abstract styles were more effective at catching the eye of the viewer than traditional illustration”

“the two images do not communicate an economic theme, but rather are intended to convey the message that the Empire has improved life in the colonies while at the same time assuring the public of the benevolent control exercised by the white man.”

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