Democracy in art

I think it’s a bit weird I chanced upon this image today, the day Bush ceded his post to Barack Obama, America’s 44th President. 

On Lost At E Minor, Shepard Fairey (also coincidentally, the guy behind the famous Obama ‘Hope’ poster – which in turn formed the basis for Obamicon), has highlighted the work of Brooklyn artist Judith Supine. Before any people without a sense of humour go up in arms against the artist or the work itself, the explanation is that Supine has used a latex mask to ‘convert’ Gandhi’s face into George Bush’s. He hasn’t said so himself, but I think one of the comments to the Flickr photo conveys the aim of this particular piece of art: “Babylon will make a leader, but when it gets down to it we know who the real leaders are.”

Clicking further, I wound up at the Constructing Coexistence Flickr group, which is a movement by street artists to create works of art asserting non-participation in systems of oppression with Mahatma Gandhi as the central symbol, because of his historical ties with civil disobedience. I found it fascinating that there is an entire movement dedicated to this. Think about it. 
I have a word of advice though, for these artists, some of whom are really talented, like Supine. If you try this in India, you may have to face a ruckus of the kind the Danish cartoons led to. I’m speaking as someone who’s lived there most of her life. Now argue, if you like. 

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