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CONTROVERSIAL PAINTING OF BARACK OBAMA AS A SLAVE CALLED 'THE TRAGEDY OF MAN' TO BE DISPLAYED AT FRESNO STATE
Peter Reynosa will be bringing his controversial painting called The Tragedy of Man to be displayed at Fresno State sometime in early October. This is his painting of Barack Obama as a slave in agony. It is a silhouette painting. It shows the silhouette of a man in chains who is obviously a slave. Reynosa said it is not an attempt to degrade or demean President Barack Obama in any way. He also said: "The horror of this painting is not that someone painted Barack Obama as a slave, but that if Barack Obama had been born sometime in America of the past he could have been born a slave."
When asked how he thought people might react to the painting he said: "Hopefully, they are disgusted by the idea that Barack Obama could have been a slave. It is a simple painting that says a lot. I am also hoping people will take the time to feel the injustice of this painting. I am trying to get people to wonder how it would feel if they knew someone who could have been a slave. And Barack Obama is someone we feel like we know."
When asked if people might confuse it as an act of racism he said: "They might, but I doubt it. The title of the painting alone tells you what the artist thinks about slavery. It definitely deals with racism as it relates to slavery. And it is a racially charged painting, but it is not a racist painting in any way imaginable. And this painting is not an attack on Barack Obama the man, or his politics, or any of his beliefs."
Reynosa also explained why he did a black and white painting. "I wanted to show how a black man was once trapped in a white world with no escape. And a silhouette painting in black and white worked perfectly for what I wanted to say."
He also went on to explain why the body looked like it came from Obama but not the head. "I tried to copy Obama's body as much as I could. But the head I wanted to look like a humanoid creature and this was to suggest how the practice of slavery always tried to deny the humanity of a man and to see him only as a thing and not as a real human being. And the top part of the head I copied from Edvard Munch's The Scream.'''