Putin a Rainbow

Website and campaign — 2013

Putinarainbow.com is a collaborative protest website that was launched in 2013 as a response to a Russian law that prohibits ‘gay propaganda’. This includes a ban on the rainbow, the symbol of the gay community. In respons, putinarainbow.com asks people to creatively combine two conflicting symbols – Putin and the rainbow – in one image. 

A selection of submissions

As soon as the website was launched, putinarainbow.com received many submissions, from the Netherlands as well as other countries. It’s interesting to see how different images have different qualities: most are funny, some are just plain weird, but only a few images have an iconic quality.

On April 9th we received our most iconic submission from Pablo el Terrible who uploaded his Drag Putin a la Warhol to our website. This image was then shared and used so often, off- and online, that it became an icon in itself. Most people used the image as part of their own protest signs or banners, either against Putin’s ‘gay propaganda’ legislation, or a year after, against the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Some people used the image to sell T-shirts or mugs (the tragic fate of every icon), of course without consent of the original creator and most probably for their own financial gain.

More than three years after its creation, Pablo’s Drag Putin even made it to Russia’s official list of extremist materials; a list with no less than 4074 items, composed and published by the Russian Ministry of Justice. Pablo’s image can be found at number 4071 under the following description:  ‘A poster depicting a person similar to the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, on the face of which make-up - eyelashes and lips are made up, which, according to the author / poster's intention, should serve as a hint at the alleged non-standard sexual orientation of the President of the Russian Federation. [...] (decision of the Central District Court of Tver of 05/11/2016).’ 

Drag Putin a la Warhol — Submitted by Pablo el Terrible

Various uses of Pablo’s Drag Putin a la Warhol

Various protests

Unauthorised T-shirt rip-offs

To Russia With Love Austria

Putin a Rainbow mash up by Naomi, Marc and Natasha
Russian lyrics on YouTube

Putin a Rainbow
by Yuri Veerman & Brigiet van den Berg

— Website and campaign
On request of COC Amsterdam
Concept: Yuri Veerman & Brigiet van den Berg
Website: Tobias Urff, built with tumblr
Submissions: as credited
Joop (NL)
NRC Handelsblad  (NL)
David Swatling (UK)
Radio Free Europe (EU)
Our age is 13 (FR)
Dag Medya (TR)
Americablog (US)
Dressed like Machines (DE)
queer.de (DE)
neuewelle (NL)
Know Your Meme (US) 
The Guardian (UK)
South China Morning Post (HK)
The Moscow Times (RU)
Reddit (US)
Buro 247 (UA)

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