Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Michelle Obama - FIRST LADY by Karine Percheron-Daniels

Hope for Africa
Magazine Fuera de Serie 2012/Aug/10

Ah, the formula for trivial controversy. The public loving or hating something is irrelevant as long as there is a buzz about it. A Spanish periodicalMagazine Fuera de Serie,  has published a photoshopped image of , a partially nude, First Lady Michelle Obama sitting with one breasts exposed.  Many in the American media claim it is insulting, the first black First Lady of the United States is being depicted as a slave. Based on the reaction to the image I assume that, generally speaking, Americans and surprisingly many in the media, have little knowledge of art and lack the motivation to research it before condemning it. I can't tell you the intentions in the heart and minds of the artists, the magazine's columnist or editors. I can give my interpretation.

The creator of the work, titled First Ladyis famous for her portraits of  Barak Obama, Einstein, Lennon, Yoko Ono, Che Guevara, Eva Peron, Prince William (surprisingly no Duuurty Harry), Duchess Of Cambridge, Lady Di, QEII, Liz Taylor, Abe Lincoln, Michael Jackson, for some reason the only person fully clothed, and others. She is artist, Karine Percheron-Daniels. In context with her other works FIRST LADY could be considered quite respectful. Many of her works, including depictions of members of the British Royal Family (pun intended) and other global icons, have subjects posed in full frontal nudity. If portraying a subject in the nude is disrespectful, let me tell you, this artist has much more respect for the FLOTUS than QEII or Lady Di and Prince William. That's good enough for me. 

On her FineArtInAmerica.Com profile she posted: 


If any of you have found this piece of art insulting I would like to say that my GENUINE intention was never to chock or upset anyone. 
I created this picture as part of a series of other famous nudes 
As an artist I only paint and create pictures of people I admire and feel passionate about 
Michelle Obama is one of these people. 
In my eyes , the picture I created here is of a beautiful woman with a beautiful message : The first Lady of America in the first time in history is a black woman who proudly and confidently displays her WOMANHOOD (the nude) her ROOTS (the slave) and her POWER(the First Lady of America embraced by the American flag). 
This picture, is a celebration of EVERYTHING GOOD, it is a celebration of achievment and in my opinion is not a racist slur. 

I am not a racist: I admire people regardless of their colour and this picture was ment to be a tribute....totally lost in translation . 

With my art I try and show beauty NOT DIRT. 

Thank you for reading 

 I would like to note that those who know their history and symbolism are aware the peace sign is also a death rune and broken cross of Nero. Many ideas can be attached to one symbol as can many symbols be to one idea. 

File:Marie-Guillemine Benoist - portrait d'une negresse.jpg
  Portrait D'une Negresse by Marie-Guillemine Benoist (1800)  
Percheron-Daniels is obviously making a symbolic connection. The original painting Portrait D'une Negresse by Marie-Guillemine Benoist, a 19th century feminist/humanist,  is not of a slave but of a free woman at the dawn of a new era for black people. First black FLOTUS - a free woman at the dawn of a new era for black people. There's even an American flag draped over her chair (nice touch). The original was "Painted six years after the abolition of slavery, this picture became a symbol for the emancipation of women and black people. At the time of its title, the word “Negress” wasn't pejorative."  wikipedia:Marie-Guillemine Benoist - Portrait D'une Negresse 

This is art not racism. It may be disturbing and provoking. It should make you think and discuss (and google). The artist, intentionally or not, is inciting the media and us to respond with a knee-jerk reaction based on what is from our perspective a negative interpretation. I would accept a prudish statement of "OMG her breast is exposed" over claims of racism. Percheron-Daniels seems quite even handed in what could be seen as her mockery of the ultraelite. 

IGNIS IGNIS CUM GNOSIDIS / IGNITE THE FIRE WITH KNOWLEDGE. Rage on a higher level, know what you are raging about and why. "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every barking dog.-"Sr. Winston Churchill (Yeah, he's white but the quote really hit the final nail on the head).
President Barack Obama NudeStudy
by Karine Percheron-Daniels

If the FLOTUS picture was disrespectful then this is one of the POTUS is blasphemy. You could spin it another way and say black people are under represented in her sauna of an iconic art gallery. Only 3 out of 26 or that she could have been more generous to Barack with the brush stroes. 

I'm disappointed in the media in general these days and don't take much at face value. I've noticed a tendency towards shock value, lack of research, bias and extremely subjective cut and paste journalism. It took about 2 minutes to find out the story behind the original painting and another 2 to find out about the artist, look at her gallery and come to my own conclusion. Sometimes we need to travel a little higher up the mountain to see more of the horizon from multiple perspectives. 

Now that the excrement has hit the ventilation system the artsy set will say, "These people don't know the art, artist or their own history. Why are they so angry?" Wether one considers these works art or filth the Obamas are in excellent company in Karine's metaphoric sauna. Strictly steaming royalty and sweaty global icons. What a way to break the barrier. The elite adore things well hidden in plain sight. This time it's a compliment disguised as an insult. Sneaky buggers. What is really disturbing is all the talk about a nuuude portrait of Barbra Bush. No offence. Jus' sayin'.

Anyhooo, with or without intent, mission trivial controversy accomplished for the  Magazine Fuera de Serie, Karine and Marie. 

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