When the Charlie Hebdo attack occurred in January 2015, some wondered what publications could provide the somber tone readers needed during a difficult time. Quite the opposite of the usual cheer, the Parisian pro-immigration magazine, Le Point, opted for a different flavor.
Entitled The Uncompromising Question, the stunning cover in 2015 featured a masked figure declaring: “Last Will of Charlie Hebdo.”
To anchor the provocative image, writer Georges Wolinski, who was among the 12 people killed by Islamist gunmen, is shown in an unusual pose, raising his fist to the sky. It was a project spearheaded by Peter Schnall, a creative director at a French design company and a friend of Wolinski’s, who wanted to use the tragedy as a way to reexamine life.
It was one of the highest-profile executions in French history, illustrating how a relatively left-leaning publication could have become a target for what the French consider a terrorist organization.
The design was a provocative take on the content of the magazine, which had long been a cultural fixture in France, and where free speech had long been held to be the bedrock of the nation’s democracy.
Schnall and Wolinski continued in their quest to keep things positive, even as the world continues to reel from the alarming events in Syria and around the world.
The 89-year-old Wolinski met with Schnall at the Condé Nast-owned restaurant “pannier” on Paris’ Left Bank and began work on his letter. Though the messenger was frequently a subject for humor, this was no ordinary message.
Schnall — who graduated from Catholic University’s School of Design and holds a masters degree in graphic design from the Institut d’Art Strategique — said Wolinski was soon hit with a series of health issues, which he carried on with humor.
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