Item #129067 'Condoman says "Don't Be Shame Be Game". Use Condoms!' [caption on a poster]. Indigenous Sexual Health, Michael CALLAGHAN, Paul COCKRAM, designers.

'Condoman says "Don't Be Shame Be Game". Use Condoms!' [caption on a poster]

[Annandale, Printed by Redback Graphix for the] Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, Aboriginal Health Workers of Australia (Queensland), [second version, circa 1989]/ 1987 (first version, with 'Use Frenchies!' in lieu of 'Use Condoms!').

A large colour screenprint poster, external dimensions 757 × 506 mm; in fine condition, unmounted as issued.

The National Gallery of Australia describes their example as a 'screenprint, printed in colour, from four stencils (three process colour plus black) ... Edition State: published state undesignated impression as issued | Edition: print run approximately 500; plus additional printings | Edition Notes: This version still required further corrections for legal purposes... Gordon Darling Fund 1989'.

'One of the most successful Australian AIDS awareness campaigns, in terms of acceptance, memory retention and educative subtlety, must surely be Condoman, the lycra-clad comic-book creation urging Australians: "Don't be shame, be game - wear condoms" (or "Use frenchies" [in] a version of the poster directed at Aboriginal communities; and "Protect yourself", which more discreetly targeted school children). Condoman was created at a Commonwealth-funded workshop for Aboriginal health workers held in Townsville, Queensland in May 1987. This workshop came up with the idea for a superhero, dressed in the red, black and yellow colours of the Aboriginal flag, who would appeal particularly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as he spread safe sex information. Since 1987 the popularity of Condoman has spread across Australia, and the condom-clutching hero has become something of a youth cult image, a concept encouraged by the National AIDS Campaigns marketing of his imagery across t-shirts, crack-and-peel stickers, cloth badges for baseball jackets and backpacks, pencils, fridge magnets and Frisbees. Recognising the broad youth appeal of their superhero, the National AIDS Campaign brought the character to life in the form of a brightly clad actor who travelled across Australia promoting the Commonwealth's safe sex message. The living Condoman received his own stand at Sydney's Easter Show in 1991; this was intended to appeal to children, with a range of child-friendly products available for free distribution, filling an attractive Condoman show bag. Such is the subtlety of the Condoman campaign, that this dissemination of vital AIDS education, even to the youngest Australian target audience, has been achieved without any controversy or opposition' (Australian Queer Archives, online). The information about the designers comes from the Powerhouse Museum (reference 'object/103078').

Item #129067

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