Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Kira van Lil

Second Advisor

Robert Nauman

Third Advisor

Frances Charteris

Abstract

The Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) is a product of its diverse participating factions. With more than a dozen political, religious, and social parties, the streets of Lebanon became flooded with contradicting political imageries, influencing public perception of the ‘other’ and inciting military action. Their unique role in Lebanon’s political atmosphere allows such graphics to transcend mere propaganda to become physical sites of memorialization, despite their ephemerality. Posters exhibiting martyrs, political icons, and spiritual references control viewers’ field of vision and prompt their physical accumulation around the images, much like one would see at a funeral or sculptural memorial. These images give cause for public commemoration. Though several militias are disbanded at the end of the civil war, Hezbollah gains notoriety for its rapid advancement, made possible, in part, by the party’s media strategies. Once dominated by images of martyrs, Hezbollah posters begin to memorialize moments in time – their subject matter as ephemeral as their medium. This thesis is an examination of political poster aesthetics and how such is situated within the larger discourses of art history and graphic design, ultimately arguing for Lebanon’s prominent role as an artistic hub in the Middle East.