This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from The Museum of Modern Art as part of Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer.
Kauffer was one of the first modernist artists commissioned by the EMB. For one of a set of five posters promoting Caribbean exports, Kauffer frames a scene of three Black men harvesting bananas in a lush, geometric jungle. Through a unified visual expression, Kauffer renders the people, the land, and the bananas as commodities for consumption. Black bodies are depicted without individualized features or signs of their oppression.
Empire Marketing Board
The Empire Marketing Board (EMB) was founded to increase sales of goods from colonies of the vast British Empire. From 1926 to 1933, the EMB’s publicity department commissioned artists to design posters to promote imperial trade. This advertising perpetuated racist stereotypes and unequal racial hierarchies. Indigenous people were illustrated performing manual labor, while white figures were shown as supervisors or at leisure. The posters, in large, custom-designed wooden frames, were prominently displayed in urban settings. They were also used as visual teaching aids in 27,000 schools throughout Great Britain.
It is credited
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 1968.
Its dimensions are
H x W (approx.): 101.6 × 152.4 cm (40 × 60 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer.