POWER TO THE PEOPLE is based on one of John August Swanson’s early serigraphs, hand-printed in 1973, The Unemployed Man
Swanson adapted the serigraph as a larger, more colorful painting, with a narrative border in 2007 and then again as poster in 2008.
The artwork connects with his own experiences in looking for work and to his mother’s experience, as an immigrant from Mexico. Struggling to find employment as a garment worker, and then joining the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) in the 1930s. Power to the People also incorporates Swanson’s involvement with groups organizing for Labor, Peace, and Civil Rights.
Because Swanson printed giclee editions in smaller batches, only those printed during his lifetime are signed by the artist. The remaining prints from the edition are made using the same image he created and approved, but with his signature printed where he would have signed them.