Daniel Edwards Re-Envisions Michelle Obama: Art and The Reduction of Womanhood

Daniel Edwards has made quite a name for himself sculpting famous figures.  Art is meant to cause us to step outside of ourselves  and touch us on a very personal level.  We are meant to question everyday actions, and what they truly mean.


The bust, entitled “Michelle Obama’s Makeover for America” goes on display at the Leo Kesting Gallery in New York on October 1.”  According to the telegraph Edwards said, “The goal is to create a look for Michelle Obama that eliminates excessive comparisons to Jackie Kennedy.”What does this bust accomplish but to reify the construction of Michelle’s body as other? Yes, the African Queen masquerading as a “real” American.

With an afro pic in her hair and the American flag carved into her flesh, depicted this way she does not resemble the accomplished, confidant woman that she is.  The despair on the face with the half closed eyes reveal a person who is defeated.  A broken, and angry woman who has been subject to repeated abuse is what this bust represents.

As a WOC despite her current class privilege, Michelle has been subject to racism and sexism, however this has not made her into the broken vessel of misery that this bust portrays.  This is the woman that racists and sexists would like Michelle to be; to downtrodden to fight the good fight.

This “art” does not challenge, it seeks only to recreate the marginalization that already exists.  Those that carry racists and sexists beliefs will feel reassurance at having their image of Michelle elevated in this way.  WOC will once again bare witness to our social ‘othering’ wondering silently, when will a black woman be worthy of being shown in her full glory? 


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