A Nicaraguan fist throttles a squirming Superman next to 1 Corinthians’ proclamation that “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Demonic jackals bear down on a bound figure representing “disappeared” Hondurans. Camouflaged soldiers exchange assault rifles for plowshares in a hopeful invocation of the Book of Micah’s prophecy that “nation shall not lift up weapons against nation.”

These are among the scenes depicted in Revolutionary Aesthetics: Afterlives of Central American Insurgency, a small exhibit of posters created in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama during an era when much of Central America was immersed in Cold War conflicts that often involved the United States. On display in the Goldstein Family Gallery in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library through May 24, these mementos of insurgency and struggle were drawn from a recently acquired collection assembled by Fred Morgner, a longtime supplier of Central American books to the Penn Libraries.

The exhibit also features an intriguing time-capsule display of how these conflicts registered on Penn’s campus. Flyers and rallying signs created at the time by Penn’s Central America Solidarity Alliance—reproductions of originals gifted by Simon Baatz G’81 Gr’86—cover one wall with a vivid reminder of how students hashed out controversial topics in the days before social media.

Revolutionary Aesthetics was curated by Brie Gettleson, Latin American Studies librarian in the Center for Global Collections, with co-curators Logan Saenz C’25 and Josué David Chávez Gr’29.

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