Silence is Health
Badiucao Digital, 2020 Australia
As governments around the world fight to control the Corona virus pandemic, they are simultaneously fighting to control its narrative. After the virus was first detected in Wuhan China in December 2019, eight people, including Doctor Li Wenliang, posted about the virus on social media platforms, only to be censored and reprimanded by Chinese police for trying to warn others. Dr. Li subsequently contracted the disease and died in February. As a result of the suppression of information, the virus continued to spread in China and is now spreading all over the world.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the Trump administration has continually misinformed and downplayed the growing number of reported cases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was slow to provide test kits to those requesting them. It should thus come as no surprise that Vice President Mike Pence — who has no medical expertise — was appointed the designated mouth piece for the administration, to further control messaging and down play criticism. At every possible turn, this administration has shown that they have little to no regard for the well-being of people and are only interested in protecting corporate profits as this public health crisis escalates and the economy and the world as we know it is spinning out of control.
Despite the severity of the situation, there is still humor to be found in everyday life and artists all over the world are sharing that humor on social media. From critiquing the sudden surge of people stockpiling toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other goods, to memes explaining how to properly wash your hands, or use a face mask, there is no shortage of content to target with irony.
Badiucao, who designed the Poster of the Week, told CSPG that the title, “Silence is Health” was an intentional reference to the iconic “Silence=Death” poster produced by The Silence=Death Project in 1987. It was then reproduced by ACT UP/NY. “Silence=Death” referred to the delayed response of President Ronald Reagan to the AIDS epidemic — Reagan did not begin to address the AIDS crisis until 1987, over six years after the first reports of the disease, thus facilitating its rapid spread.
Badiucao is one of China’s most prolific and well-known political cartoonists and human rights activists. Currently based in Australia, he adopted his pen-name to protect his identity.