Celebrated street artist turned pop culture phenomenon, Keith Haring, was also a dedicated social activist. He vigorously advocated for the LGBT community, particularly those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and condemned racism, inequity, and social injustices. Haring, therefore, found himself joining the international anti-apartheid movement against the oppressive and racially based power of the South African government. Haring wrote that “Control is evil. All stories of white men's ‘expansion’ and ‘colonization’ and ‘domination’ are filled with horrific details of the abuse of power and the misuse of people,” in a journal entry from March 28, 1987. His poster Free South Africa originated from a painting in 1984 of the same design (currently exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam). In 1985, he transformed the painting into lithograph and added the text “Free South Africa” to the lower border of the composition. It is said that Haring distributed around 20,000 poster versions of this print in New York City in 1986 in an effort to mobilize support against the apartheid.


  • Title: Free South Africa
  • Creator: Keith Haring
  • Creator Lifespan: 1958 - 1990
  • Creator Nationality: United States
  • Creator Death Place: New York, USA
  • Creator Birth Place: Reading, USA
  • Date Created: 1985
  • Location: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: w32 x h40 in
  • Class: 2-dimensional
  • Type: lithograph
  • Rights: All rights reserved
  • Medium: lithograph on paper, 15/60

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