People Power: Fighting for Peace

2017 offers a very rare chance to see the original sketches of the ‘peace symbol’.  Special Collections and the Trustees of the Commonweal Collection are lending them to a major exhibition at the IWM, People Power: Fighting for Peace.

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol,by Gerald Holtom. Copyright: Commonweal Collection.

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol,by Gerald Holtom. Copyright: Commonweal Collection.

Artist Gerald Holtom created the symbol in 1958  for the first Aldermaston March (organised by the Direct Action Committee); it was later adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other groups and campaigns working for peace, making it one of the most recognisable and powerful designs ever created.  Holtom’s original sketches are very fragile and so can rarely be shown to the public. This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for us to display them to great numbers of people for the first time.

People Power explores 100 years of anti-war campaigning in Britain through 300 objects: banners, posters, flyers, leaflets, paintings, letters … Many have never been exhibited before. In addition to the sketches, we are lending a pencil drawing of Peace Pledge Union founder Dick Sheppard by activist and artist Peggy Smith and a range of letters and ephemera relating to the anti-nuclear campaigns of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

People Power is on show at the IWM London, 23 March-28 August 2017.  Find out more on the IWM’s website.

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