Robert L. Peters

3 October 2008

Respect | Rajie Cook



New York, USA

I met Dana Bartelt by chance on an airport shuttle bus to downtown Prague in June of 2002, during my first year as Icograda president. Two days later we crossed paths again at the Icograda Identity/Integrity Conference in Brno, Czech Republic, held in conjunction with the 20th Brno Biennale. Dana handed me a disk of images from Don’t Say You Didn’t Know/Posters for Palestine, an initiative she had spearheaded using propaganda art to shed light on the sustained (some would say nefarious) support the U.S. provides to Israel in its ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and its oppression of the Palestinian people. Among the images in the collection, Rajie Cook’s The Star stood out for the power and clarity of its statement re: organized Zionism as an internal force in American political life… a topic often considered taboo (and quick to trigger accusations of Antisemitism).

Here’s a snip about Rajie from The Electronic Intifada: “Born in 1930, Palestinian-American artist Rajie Cook has had a very successful career in graphic design. The ‘Symbol Signs’ that hang in airports internationally, communicating purely through icons rather than text, were designed by Cook and his design firm. He has been honored by President Reagan and the ‘Symbols Signs’ project has been acquired into the Smithsonian’s collection. However, Cook is not done creating work that intends to communicate. Born in the United States to parents originally from Palestine, the violence and continued injustice that consume his homeland spurs him to make Joseph Cornell-inspired boxes that comment upon various aspects of the conflict…” Read more about Rajie’s passionate work here, and visit his website to see more of his assemblages and posters here.

Poster images: The Star (1996) and The Dollar (2007), both © Rajie Cook.

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