Images to Icons

Find out about how an image turns into an icon


Find out about the journey of images to icons – what makes an image iconic?

Images to Icons – the clenched, raised fist:

Throughout history protest movements have used images to illustrate their cause, to do the work of a hundred words. To provide unity and a sense of community amongst those protesting — particular images have become iconic and taken on far more meaning, across centuries.  The clenched, raised fist is one such icon.  Throughout history a variety of communities and groups have used it as a symbol of resistance and unity. As an act of rebellion against oppression.  You may have seen it recently on posters and banners as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is a potent symbol with an exciting and inspiring history.

Images to Icons – the journey:

Read about the history of the raised fist from the French Resistance, to the Spanish Civil War, via the 1968 Olympic Games, to the feminist movement, the LGBTQ+ community, and Black Lives Matter and see images of how it has been used in all those varied and important protest movements here.


Images to Icons – drawing the fist:

Now you understand its history, learn to draw the fist so you can use it in your own artwork. Put it on protest banners and placards. Here is a step by step video showing you how to draw it:

Take it further:

What other symbols have you seen being used by protest movements? Research where they came from and discover if they have inspiring histories too.

You could make a solidarity poster in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.  And take some time to explore who the New Black History Makers are and how you can celebrate, support and uplift them.

Anti Racist Education

This is one of our collection of actively anti racist activities for children and young people.

Activities & Resources

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