• Steven Heller

Tolerance is More Than Just Tolerating

Tolerance is easy to say and often hard to do. This collection of designs from the Tolerance Poster Show that recently opened in Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia, is an international response to the current state of affairs. The exhibition is organized by Mirko Ilic and will appear throughout Europe adding a new artist from each city in which it appears.

Ironically, a poster by Tarek Atrissi did not survive the first night of the exhibition. Someone vandalized it. “And I took this as a biggest design compliment!” he notes. “Out of the 23 posters exhibited, only my poster managed to provoke someone, just by seeing a veiled woman and some Arabic text.” The “intolerant” rushed to miss the main message of the poster: a simple graphic interpretation of a striking quote on finding tolerance: “Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity.” An image of a fully veiled woman is used as a visual example. “There is often so much negativity wrongly associated with such an image,” he adds. “People tend to relate this visual to oppression, extremism or terrorism. They forget that this can be also a free choice, a tradition, a belief, a different perspective. The ‘unknown’ can be a wonderful difference with so much cultural richness. Only a curious and tolerant mind can unveil the human universal similarity.”

The next night, the exhibition was once more vandalized (see below). “We are totally shocked and taken aback by violence and intolerance … [by our neighbors]. It’s about the vandalism and violence, which I don’t remember in Ljubljana,” a resident wrote.

Fonz Hickman defaced and original.

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