A new gallery exhi­bi­tion at North­eastern has sparked debate and dis­cus­sion over the role of graphic design in polit­ical dis­course in the Pres­i­dent Obama era.

We the Designers,” curated by Pro­fessor Thomas Starr in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design, fea­tures work by graphic designers that exam­ines polit­ical issues during Obama’s presidency.

Obama’s elec­tion seemed like a turning point in our his­tory, a period of high hopes and then a roller coaster ride of both dis­ap­point­ments and achieve­ments,” Starr said. “And if design played such a major part in his elec­tion, I wanted to look at what part it is playing now.”

A panel dis­cus­sion will take place at Inter­na­tional Vil­lage in room #14 on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., which will allow mem­bers of the campus com­mu­nity and others to exchange ideas and per­spec­tives about the exhibit.

Part of Starr’s inspi­ra­tion for the show, he explained, was the iconic “Hope” poster by Shepard Fairey, which quickly became syn­ony­mous with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s 2008 run for office. The works in the exhi­bi­tion, many of which were cre­ated specif­i­cally for the show, address such issues as the sym­bolism that sur­rounds Obama, and the poli­cies enacted or pur­sued by his administration.

Among the most debated pieces of art in the show is an instal­la­tion by Starr called “Exploded View,” which dis­plays two flags, one without the Amer­ican flag’s red stripes and the other without the blue box and white stars. Starr said the work is intended to show that par­tisan divi­sions between Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans — rep­re­sented by blue and red on polit­ical maps — have stymied national progress. The work was stolen last week but has since been returned; it will soon be rein­stalled in Inter­na­tional Village.

We can’t be this red team and this blue team. It isn’t the Red Sox and the Yan­kees,” Starr said. “We think of red states and blue states so often, but to get any­thing done, we have to do it as one country.”

But some stu­dents have taken offense to the work, with more than 100 joining a Face­book page calling for the removal of “Exploded View.” Others, though, voiced their sup­port of Starr’s work on the page, which has since been removed.

It offends me as an Amer­ican, to be honest with you,” said Patrick O’Neil, a sopho­more finance major who car­ried a small Amer­ican flag with him to the gallery opening last Wednesday night. “The flag is a very impor­tant symbol for the values it rep­re­sents and stands for. To see it vio­lated in this way offends me.”

Others stu­dents and vis­i­tors to the gallery, how­ever, said they did not feel offended by the work, which they saw as thought pro­voking. Graphic design senior Christi Gal­lagher said she liked seeing how visual artists and designers con­veyed a mes­sage or infor­ma­tion through their artwork.

It’s really rare to put graphic design in a museum or gallery, so I think this is a really great show,” said Lucinda Hitch­cock, a pro­fessor at the Rhode Island School of Design whose own work, a series of three posters enti­tled “Making Black” was dis­played in Starr’s exhibition.

When graphic design intends to make a mes­sage, you have to be careful,” Hitch­cock said. “You’re still in the realm of the quick-​​read, the way people con­sume adver­tising or other media.”

We the Designers” will be on dis­play in Inter­na­tional Vil­lage through Dec. 15, before moving on to the National Press Club in Wash­ington, D.C., where it will be dis­played from Jan. 16 through Feb. 11.