American, Cuban and Iranian Designers Challenge “Us” Versus “Them” Mentality

The Seattle-Havana-Tehran Poster Show inspires cultural connections and collaboration without taking itself too seriously.

Seattle, WA, July 28, 2015 –(– The Seattle-Havana-Tehran Poster Show, an exhibition featuring 69 arts and culture-related posters by designers from each city, acts as a cultural exchange between the three politically and geographically disparate cities. Curated by Daniel R. Smith of Seattle, Pepe Menéndez of Havana and Iman Raad of Tehran, the show is an act of citizen diplomacy to generate goodwill between the cities and generate a deeper understanding of one another. It will premiere in Seattle this fall at Bumbershoot, the Pacific Northwest’s largest music and arts festival, before traveling to Cuba and Iran in 2016.

The curators jokingly refer to their project as a “SHT show” because, “when we get together it’s fun,” says Smith. “There are no politics, no prejudice, just an appreciation of our common interests. When we see what the other is doing—and recognize ourselves—the truth is arrived at; we are more alike than different. The real ‘shit show’ belongs to forces that try to manipulate us through stereotyping, through fear, to keep us apart.”

The exhibit offers a sample of contemporary design from each country. Posters from each city are organized in triplets that share a connection such as color, shape or subject matter. While each poster represents its country’s local culture and design aesthetic, viewing these posters side-by-side highlights unexpected commonalities between the cities. Artists include Jeff Kleinsmith, Ames Brothers, Jesse LeDoux, Edel Rodríguez Molano, Darwin Fornés Báez, Idania Del Rio, Reza Abedini, Homa Delvarai, Farhad Fozouni and many others.

The public will be given free access to view the poster show during Bumbershoot’s art opening on Fri., Sept. 4 and then can view the show throughout the duration of the festival (Sept.5-7).

“Seattle, with its thriving rock and roll poster culture has become an unlikely hub of global collaboration among graphic designers from countries at far ends of the political spectrum,” says Smith. “Further proof of Seattle’s relentless do-gooder-ism.”

The Seattle-Havana-Tehran Show builds on two firsts: the first American and Cuban city-to-city design exchange since Cuba’s 1959 revolution (The Seattle-Havana Poster Show, 2007), and the first U.S. exhibition of contemporary Iranian posters since their 1979 revolution (The Seattle-Tehran Poster Show, 2008). This show will mark the first time that all three cities come together to produce a collective exhibition.

Sponsors for The Seattle-Havana-Tehran Poster Show include Tether, AIGA Seattle and Girlie Press.

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Contact Information
Seattle-Havana-Tehran Poster Show
Daniel R. Smith