Monday, September 14, 2009

Communism as a commodity: the context of iconography


I’m sure all of you have seen this picture, taken by Alberto Korda on March 5th, 1960 (, numerous times before. It has been reproduced millions of times in many different forms, whether it be on magazines, posters, textbooks, murals, t-shirts or … vodka bottles? The iconic image of revolutionary leader, Ernesto “Che” Guevara can be seen around the world, but what does it mean?
For those who view Guevara as a martyr, the image might evoke feelings of heroism and strength, while others may feel hatred or disgust for a murderer obsessed with flawed ideologies. Yet to most, this image is nothing more than an emblem used to shill random products. Let’s take a look at some of the things Che has been selling lately:






So why is that images of Che Guevara can so easily be taken out of their political context (whether romanticized or vilified) aand be reproduced over and over? Is there still meaning attached or is the era of Che finally over?

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