Persevere: Calligraphy of Resistance

Persevere: Calligraphy of Resistance

Over the last few months, artist Tauba Auerbach has written out the word 'Persevere' thousands of times.

A series of posters and public installations are now aiming to raise money and awareness for organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists and GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Services).

"My favorite exercise in Daniel T Ames’ Compendium of Practical and Ornamental Penmanship shows the word persevere written in lowercase script. Each letter is surrounded by a loop, similar to the a in the @ symbol. The loops are all the same but the letters are different, so the exercise teaches you to maintain a rhythm amidst otherwise varying circumstances. "
"Calligraphy has become the activity during which I reflect on what’s happening in the world, what’s at stake, and what I’m willing to do about it. Maybe I’ve just needed something to do with my hands while I think. Until now, my politics have manifest mostly in quotidian, domestic choices like being vegan, composting and riding a bike. Feel free to roll your eyes. I support a few organizations. Big deal. I’ve always spoken my mind, but probably too politely. Besides, all of these choices are luxuries, and none of them registers as a sacrifice because they actually make my life more enjoyable. They are also, clearly, not sufficient."
"While doing calligraphy I’ve listened to a lot of speeches made by activists and philosophers. I’ve asked myself frequently if revolutionary change can take place without violence, and I’ve heard many sound arguments for why it cannot. Nonetheless, I remain certain that violence = no change, and that it is a doomed methodology for achieving it. In my view, violent means not only don’t justify but also don’t result in peaceful ends because the notion of an “end” is flawed. Now is the end. Every moment is the end. Civilization will always be in a state of becoming, so how we become what we want to be is what we are."
"Over the last few months, I’ve probably written the word persevere thousands times and in of hundreds ways. I’ve needed the time to think about what I can truly offer, about what a real contribution might be. I have some ideas, but I don’t yet know if any of them are any good. In the meantime, I’m offering these drawings to support and thank some of the people I’ve held in my mind as I’ve written the word."


Persevere posters are available from Diagonal Press for $25

100% of profits benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists, GEMS (Girls Education and Mentoring Services), Chinese American Planning Council, and PLSE (Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity)

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