“But there are a lot of younger people who are looking at the world in a way that is more selfless and more communal—who are saying, ‘We’re all in this together, and we need to make some moves,’ whether it’s in the context of political division, racism, xenophobia, or a warming planet.”
When “Damaged” opens this Saturday, it will no doubt draw hundreds, if not thousands, of Fairey’s fans—many who are young (and not so different from Fairey’s own skateboard-wielding, underground-music-obsessed teenage self). Fairey is optimistic that these youth, and others like them, will continue to oppose forces of unchecked authority and power that segregate communities and seed conflict.
To drive home this point, he’s included a series of what an exhibition text refers to as “do-it-yourself tools of empowerment.” These include a printing press, where visitors can produce their own protest art, and free posters.
“Everyone has more power than they know,” Fairey explains. “Youthful idealism mixed with DIY principles of action can be incredibly transformative—so don’t squander your power.”