The first NAIDOC poster was created in 1972 to promote ‘Aborigines Day’ which had become widely accepted as a day for Australians to come together in support of better rights for Indigenous people. The protest nature of the poster continued until 1977 with titles like ‘Self Determination’ and ‘Chains or Chance’ publicising political change and a day of remembrance.
The 1978 poster reflected a decision by the recently established National NAIDOC Committee to move from a day of demonstration to a week long celebration in July. The cultural focus of the poster’s title ‘Cultural Revival is Survival’ highlighted a decision to weave ideas of culture and history into what had become predominantly politically based themes for the posters.
The 1988 poster appropriately titled ‘Recognise and Share the Survival of the Oldest Culture in the World’ was the first to reflect the NAIDOC name change formally incorporating the inclusion of the Torres Strait Islander community.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) launched the official NAIDOC poster competition in the mid 1990′s inviting entries from around the country and offering generous prize money as well as the opportunity for newly emerging artists to display their work nationally. Entrants were required to develop an artwork based around set themes such as ‘Respect’ and ‘Families are the basis of our existence’. Read more about the past National NAIDOC themes.
Posters from the turn of the Century took on a more futuristic flavour with ideas of a way forward for Indigenous people through children and community featuring in the themes. The contemporary style of posters and the quality of the production are notable too, and perhaps a result of, the more strategic approach to the competition and better publishing services.
Today, 100,000 posters are distributed nationally. The poster is a creative opportunity for artists to convey messages depicting the cultural and political history of Australia’s Indigenous people and is the primary tool for promoting NAIDOC Week activities.
Take a look at the poster gallery for previous National NAIDOC Posters.