Gérard Dubois, an artistic approach to the death penalty

Behind the ringed eyes of the visual of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, the world-renowned French artist, Gérard Dubois, wanted to deliver a strong message to denounce the impact of death penalty on a human life.


Why did you agree to make this illustration for this World Congress against the Death Penalty?

One of the reasons, and the main one, is that I am not in favour of the death penalty. So, working to promote an idea that I share seemed obvious to me. Moreover, from a purely professional point of view, creating the visual of an important event such as this one is obviously a stimulating experience.


What message do you want to convey through this face with its particular features and look?

One of the difficulties of this project was to create a visual that could be read in many formats, from the smallest to the largest, so something quite graphic. Usually, my work is a little less graphic than in the case of this image.
That being said, I didn’t want this aspect to lead me to an austere conceptual solution. It seemed important to me to put the human being first, the one behind the conviction.

When I sketched this overlapping of the two faces, one dead, the other alive, everything appeared to be in place, both in substance and form.

The essential aspect of this work was to provide a visual that forces us to take into consideration the life of the person behind the debate.


Poster of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty © Gérard Dubois 2018

In your opinion, why is the commitment of artists important in the fight for human rights?

Artists have an approach or a way of sending a message to their own society; it is neither better nor worse, simply complementary to more didactic or even pedagogical approaches, which are also essential.

Artists often touch  the emotional as much as the intellectual. Some have the capacity to reach more people, so it encourages wide dissemination, but in my opinion, it is especially important that, as a citizen, everyone helps as much as they can, with their unique voice, whether artistic or other, may it be heard or not.



Gérard Dubois is a French illustrator based in Canada. For more than twenty-five years, his work has received many of the most prestigious awards in North America: Communication Arts, American Illustration, SPD, Folio, AIGA, Print, 3×3, Spectrum… Including the Hamilton King Award and four gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. Three times finalist for the Governor’s Award, he received a Bologna Ragazzi Award, Special Mention of the Jury in the Fiction category.
His illustrations have been featured in Communication Arts, Print magazine, L’Actualité, and Grafika, and his images have been exhibited in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Miami, Montreal and Toronto.


To learn more about his work, we invite you to visit his website at www.gdubois.com.

Photo © Éditions 400 Coups