I'm So Angry I Made a Sign...

Boorloo Justice share the power of protest signs as tools for social justice and personal healing, and teach you how to make your own.

By Museum of Freedom and Tolerance

Boorloo Justice, Cole Baxter & Community Arts Network (CAN)

Boorloo Justice

Boorlooo Justice is a grassroots organisation run by First Nations and POC youth that are campaigning the Black Lives Matter Movement in Western Australia. The group is passionate about activism and reconnecting with community in an intersectional and inclusive way.

Boorloo is a Noongar word for the stolen land we now call Perth, Western Australia.

“It’s not white versus black – it’s all of us against racism.” – Boorloo Justice

Always Was, Always Will Be V (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Anesu from Boorloo Justice

Boorloo Justice responded to the international outrage over the killing of American man George Floyd, in May 2020, by organising Black Lives Matter rallies in Perth.

The protests highlighted Australia’s shameful record of black deaths in custody.

There have been 432 black deaths in custody since 1991 and no convictions.

Day of Demonstration

After a tumultuous year that started with devastating bushfires, followed by a global pandemic, anti-racism protests and a contentious United States election, Perth based cultural organisation Community Arts Network (CAN) held a Day of Demonstration to bring artists and community workers together to reflect on 2020.

CAN approached Boorloo Justice to share their protest skills at a workshop dedicated to art and activism. We called it I’m so angry, I made a sign.

Always Was, Always Will Be IV (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Under the gentle steerage of activists Jamie Simcock and Anesu Zimm from Boorloo Justice, Day of Demonstration participants were stepped through the process of putting paint to cardboard to make a sign with impact.

"This is just a start. We're some kick-ass youth activists and we're so excited to just get out there, spread our voices and just show people what the young people in Australia are going to do." – Boorloo Justice.

The Power of Protest

Sign making is a form of self expression. It’s putting all your emotions and feelings onto a sign and holding it with a sense of self, support and solidarity. It is telling your own narrative and perspective. It’s a small blip of all your feelings, into a few words.

Coming together in protest creates a sense of community and strength. It goes against the colonial values of divide and conquer - coming together to achieve greatness and having a shared goal is the most pure act of passionate defiance.

Black Lives Matter I (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Always Was, Always Will Be II (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Choose Eco Not Ego (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

I'm So Angry I Made a Sign (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Workshop: Make Your Own Protest Sign

Always Was, Always Will Be, Cole Baxter, Boorloo Justice, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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What you need

1. Cardboard of any size, shape or colour (hold onto those recycled boxes!)
2. Acrylic paint
3. A cause and a bit of tenacity

Step 1: Consider your cause

Think about what's important to you and, most importantly, why. Consider any key messaging from the campaign you're supporting - but get creative.

Step 2: Construct your message

Craft a direct, catchy tagline, and paint it onto your sign. Think about different ways to approach your message. You can use puns and humour - brainstorm ideas with your friends. Or, look for pop culture references and any slogans or chants that already form part of the campaign or movement you're protesting for. Or, you might want to make your sign more confronting, using hard statistics or evocative quotes or images. Use hashtags to spread the message further and help others connect.

Step 3: Make it visible

Think about how to make your sign as visible as possible - it needs to be bold, eye-catching, iconic. You can use colour, imagery or other decoration (like glitter!) to make your sign stand out.

Credits: Story

All images by photographer Cole Baxter. Cole is a Noongar man with connections to Wilman & Goreng Boodja. He specialises in portrait photography in low and natural light. Born and raised on Whadjuk Boodja, Cole pays respects to the original people of the Derbarl Yerrigan when shooting on Whadjuk Boodja.

The I'm so angry I made a sign... workshop was facilitated by Jamie Simcock and Anesu Zimm from youth-led activist group Boorloo Justice.

Day of Demonstration was organised by Community Arts Network (CAN) in partnership with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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