Whether it was TIME magazine's intentions to make a double entendre with their anticipated Person of the Year cover that was released today is unclear - The Protestor has been chosen to encompass the power of the people that has spread across the world from the passionate Arab Springs to the tumultuous riots in London and occupied streets in the Western world.
TIME commissioned Shepherd Fairey to illustrate The Protestor cover and it is a far cry from the artist's cover for the magazine's Person of the Year in 2008: Barack Obama - Why History Can't Wait. Fairey had used a version of his now iconic HOPE poster of President Obama that went viral during his American election campaign. The image evolved into something as synonymous with the word 'hope' - the very emotion in fact, the expectation of a better future; three years on, the world continues to be in a turbulent financial state and at least in America, Obama has not been able to work as much magic as he would have liked. The early jeers of 'No We Can't' sees the end of 2011 in a rather hope-less state.
For Fairey, he will be forever associated with the Obama campaign (A Casualty Of Politics? January 2010) however will perhaps want to disassociate himself with the President's recent publicity push in the run up to next year's re-election with his announcement of the end of the Iraq War today, in the same year that saw the death of Osama Bin Laden under his watch - all pieces in a "dumb" war effort which he was opposed to during his election campaign.
While the covers of The Protestor and Why History Can't Wait tell a poignant history of a changing world, TIME has chosen Fairey to define yet another movement: revolutionary times whose eyes no longer look up at the distance to the unknown, but now looks straight at you, for straight answers.