Che – The Making of a Culture Hero

_44157195_poster.jpgHave you seen this image before? Do you know who this is? None other than Che Guevara — a doctor by training and a hero of the Cuban revolution. That single one image: of Che in his black beret and tangled beard, with a red background has been reproduced a million and one times over. This image can be found throughout Latin America, painted on the sides of buildings and emblazoned on T-shirts and trinkets. You’ve probably also seen his image in the West, from Andy Warhol’s famous technicolor print to college campus icon and other modern interpretations.

No doubt, Che was a complex man – and his biography is littered with his penchant for brutality and violence. After the Cuban revolution, he traveled across Latin America and Africa in the 1960s supporting liberation movements for countries still struggling under colonial rule. He was by no means a saint, yet he has become a culture hero, embraced by consumer chic.

For one, he died an early death in 1967, and was soon immortalized into a mythic figure. But more importantly he came to symbolize the counter-culture rebel – willing to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of his ideals.

Now forty years later, a recent article by the BBC interviews the artist Jim Fitzpatrick who produced the original emblematic Che image, now one the most recognized icons of the 21st century. It’s a fascinating glimpse inside the creation of this widely adored and reviled culture symbol. For more on the history of this image, also check out this Wikipedia entry.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button