A Chicago Artist is Under Fire For Plagiarizing a Black Woman's Artwork For His Michelle Obama Mural
Photo of the Michelle Obama Mural courtesy of Twitter.
On Friday,Chicago artistand urban planner Chris Devins completed a large mural of Michelle Obama, located just blocks away from the former First Lady's childhood home. Now many people are calling foul on the tactics he used to make the mural.
The whole project started in November when Devins launcheda GoFundMe in order to raise$9,900 for the project; he ended up getting$11,785. When he pitched the idea, the mural featured a standard photo of Michelle Obama. However, when the mural was complete, the ex-FLOTUS was featured as an Egyptian queen. DNA Chicago ran an article about the Michelle Obama mural, which is located on the corner of Chappel Avenue and 74th Street. In the article, Devins says: "I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she's clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate."
The only problem, the image used was not originally his. This particular image of Michelle Obama was created by a black woman namedGelila Lila Mesfin. After the DNA piece was published, she posted this on her Instagram:
If you scroll her Instagram, you can see that her claim is legit. There's a video of her creatingthe painting the mural is based on. The video is from October 2016:
After numerous of people came toMesfin's defense on Twitter, Devins responded. He admitted he was "inspired" by Mesfin's work and then kind of gave credit.
It will be interesting to see where the Michelle Obama mural will go from here.