• Peter Chester with his original poster for the Bicentenary Protests (Supplied)Source: Supplied
After his proud niece Instagrammed his 1988 poster, NITV decided to catch up with graphic designer Peter Chester and chat with him about what it was like to be involved in the Bicentenary protests.
By
Karina Marlow

1 Apr 2016 - 3:31 PM  UPDATED 1 Apr 2016 - 3:31 PM

What was the event that the poster was promoting?

The Anti-Bicentenary March in 1988 [which] was organized by the Freedom Justice Hope Committee with my Mother Judith Chester, Stepfather Kevin Cook, Reverend Charlie Harris, Linda Burney, Chris Kirkbright and Karen Flick on the board along with many others. Everyone came together protesting against the Bicentenary and 200 years of colonisation.

How were you involved in the protests at the time?

I was involved in the promotions of the big march by reproducing the artwork from a T-shirt into a poster for the committee. I also marched with my family on the day. At the front holding up the big banner.

What was it like to be protesting at the time of the Australian Bicentenary?

It was overwhelming; there were people with mega phones everywhere and a great presence of police who looked a little intimidated by the crowds of people. Aboriginal people came from everywhere and were chanting “What do we want, Land Rights……When do we want it, NOW!” holding all of their posters and signs up together. Some were for deaths in custody and, some were for land rights and justice for our people. If you were there that day you would never forget it, it was unbelievable, especially how everyone from all different races came together on the day, from everywhere.

We were united with one another and all against the bicentenary. It was one of the proudest moments of my life to be marching with my people. And seeing all the non-Aboriginal people in support made us feel uplifted.

Growing up marginalised from society, it was our first positive experience seeing our mob gather and a huge experience for me as a young Aboriginal man. To march with my family and community while carrying the banner at the front of the march that said “Land Rights Now!”

Why was this particular image used for the poster?

My Stepfather Kevin also known as Cookie loved the artist, Chips Mackinolty. He organized permission from the artist himself for me to reproduce his image into posters, promoting the big march. At the time I was one of the first art students at Eora College and interning at Justice Action (Break Out) a few years later.

What was the process of making the posters?

At Justice Action, my internship was in Graphic Design where I worked on their posters using pre-press printing. I learnt photography and worked on a few detailed paintings at the time. I had to put my mother's t-shirt featuring the artist's design, on a vacuum frame camera and separated the colours for pre-press.