CANVASS 44: Finding My Voice and Saying It Loud


American Wants Obama by Onjena

Rosie the Renegade Says It Loud by Onjena


Say It Loud by Onjena

“All this talk about “founding fathers” and the building of America by hard work without handouts…

This country is great because it was built on the backs of slaves. What better handout than to start your businesses with free labor.”

~ Grey Williamson

Daaaaaaaaaaamn… talking about ALL of our history, even the ugly parts, does not make me unpatriotic. I am proud of our country and of our President. No apologies.

Download, share, repost… speak up…vote!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #registertoVOTE #neverforget #spreadLOVE

CANVASS 44 Gallery: Artists for Obama

So many are still inspired by President Obama, his family and his administration. Click on an image below to learn more about the artist and the inspiration behind each piece of art.

Shout out to the artists who have contributed to CANVASS 44 and the art history of our President:

Please share your art with us @CANVASS44.

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #spreadLOVE


President Obama Renegade Bust by Grey Williamson & Kilroy III

President Obama Renegade Bust by Grey Williamson & Kilroy III
President Obama Renegade Bust President Obama Renegade Bust

President Obama Painting by Rodney Jackson

Obamanator :: Obamabot 2.0 :: by onjena & Gold Mane Entertainment
President Obama Painting Obamanator :: Obamabot 2.0

Say It Loud 1.0 by onjena

Say It Again, Sam 1.0 by onjena
Say It Loud 1.0 Say It Again, Sam 1.0

Say It Again, Sam 2.0 by onjena

Rosie the Renegade by Onjena
Say It Again, Sam 2.0 Rosie the Renegade

Keepin' the Change by onjena

Obamacat :: Obamabot 2.0 by onjena
Keepin’ the Change Obamacat :: Obamabot 2.0

Obamanation by onjena

Exceptional by onjena
Obamanation Exceptional

Hana Hou by onjena

Optimist Prime by onjena
Hana Hou Optimist Prime

Bed Stuy 2012 by onjena

Mo'Bama Blues by onjena
Bed Stuy 2012 Mo’Bama Blues

Wet Paint by Andre Woolery

Barack Black Eagle by Bunk
Wet Paint Barack Black Eagle

Wet Paint by Andre Woolery

Ali Says It Loud by onjena, Kilroy III, Grey Williamson
BAMA Ali Says It Loud

Painting by Alex Krasky

Ali Says It Loud by onjena, Kilroy III, Grey Williamson
America in My Eyes Who Will Save America?

Painting by Alex Krasky

Obama Wooden Campaign Pin by Louise's Daughter
In His Shoes Obama Wooden Campaign Pin

Renegade O'bamabot by Onjena of Carbon-Fibre Media & GoldMane Entertainment

Willard Romneybot by Onjena of Carbon-Fibre Media & GoldMane Entertainment
Renegade :: O’bamabot Willard :: Romneybot

President Obama Sculpture by James Munoz

Vice-President Biden Sculpture by James Munoz
President Obama Sculpture Vice-President Biden Sculpture

First Family: The Obamas by Synthia SAINT JAMES

Renaissance 2.0 by Onjena & GoldMane Entertainment
First Family: The Obamas Renaissance 2.0 :: O’bamabot

North Lawn Mosaic by Lisa Anne Riley

SouthLawn Mosaic by Lisa Anne Riley
North Lawn Mosaic South Lawn Mosaic

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Korean-Americans by Onjena

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Israeli-Americans by Onjena
Korean Americans Israeli Americans

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Cape Verdean-Americans by Onjena

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Canadian-Americans by Onjena
Cape Verdean Americans Canadian Americans

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Japanese-Americans by Onjena

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Ghanaian-Americans by Onjena
Japanese Americans Ghanaian Americans

Multinational Patriot Series for Obama: Chinese-Americans by Onjena

Thinking Forward by Derrick Trotman (Tru Soul)
Chinese Americans Thinking Forward

Obama Crashes the RNC by Derrick Trotman (Tru Soul)

I Believe in You by Derrick Trotman (Tru Soul)
Obama Crashes the RNC I Believe in You

Tuttz meets Renegade by Eric Nocella Diaz

Tutti i colori di Obama by Matteo Ceschi
Tuttz meets Renegade Tutti i colori di Obama

Obama Said Knock You Out by Robt Seda-Schreiber

Baby Got Hope by Robt Seda-Schreiber
Obama Said Knock You Out Baby Got Hope

Obama Said Knock You Out by Robt Seda-Schreiber

“Obama Said Knock You Out”
7.25″ x 5.5″
Pen & Ink Drawing

This is free for all to download, print, & disseminate. Go forth & spread the gospel. Put it on every street corner & lamp-post, every bulletin board & kiosk, every juke-joint & house of ill-repute, every cafe, campus & construction site, every church, synagogue, mosque, & Bahá’í Center, every library & schoolyard, every domino table & methadone clinic, every nook & cranny you can find…or… just stick it in your office. 

Remember there’s no knockout in this bout, it goes the full 12 rounds. The judges’ decision is final on 6 November, so get out & vote, my friends.
~ Robt Seda-Schreiber

Mr. Seda-Schreiber tells us that is not a professional artist, but simply an art teacher with a drawing table at which he sometimes sit & create little doodles, surrounded by far too many toys for a man of his age. Should you so desire, you can see more of his artistic shenanigans at sweetestbaboon.blogspot.com.

When I asked for  his twitter handle, this was Mr. Seda-Schreiber’s response:

I’m not on Twitter or Facebook… I actually don’t even text, if you can believe it.
I’m so old school, I make Chuck D look like Meek Mill.

LOL. I was granted permission to quote him on this. Mr. Seda-Schreiber’s “Baby Got Hope” poster was featured in the book, “Design for Obama” during the 2008 campaign season. He’s in it for the long haul. Respect.

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #spreadLOVE

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Robt Seda-Schreiberis “an artist, a lover, a father, a teacher, a hustler of culture, an oh-so-tiny & not-so-private dancer, an imaginary boxer, a practicing solipsist, & a self-indulgent, egotistical, totally insecure, anxious & angst-ious little man.” A friend left a beautiful quote about the artist and the art: “Seda-Schreiber lets you into his mind, and it turns out to be a worthwhile place to rummage around… (His work) is like receiving a long letter from a friend you didn’t know you had.” (Cat Yronwode). Sounds like my kinda artist. See more of his works at sweetestbaboon.blogspot.com.

Tutti i colori di Obama by Matteo Ceschi (All the Colors of Obama. The Other History of American Elections)

Matteo Ceschi is an artist and writer who has recently finished his book titled, “Tutti i colori di Obama. L’altra storia delle elezioni americane (All the Colors of Obama. The Other History of American Elections),” published by Franco Angeli Editore (www.francoangeli.it).

This is perhaps one of the rare occassions that one interview can cohesively cover old school rap, underground comics, The Jeffersons, Dick Gregory and American Presidential history. I cannot wait to get my hands on Mr. Ceschi’s book.

Following, Mr. Ceschi shares his inspiration, highlights and challenges while researching and writing “Tutti i colori di Obama.”

CFM: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

CESCHI: My thesis in American History was on the explosion of black music in the post-World War II period. At the time I was often in a small comics shop not far from the university discussing and drawing cartoons. At home, as a background to my long drawing marathons, there were Old School records like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, De La Soul and classics like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix. My passion for music led me to the team of a well-known Italian music magazine, where I am still a regular columnist. After graduation, I also immediately started to work at my university as Teaching Assistant, first in U.S. history, later in Contemporary history, which allowed me to participate in international conferences and meet European and American scholars.

CFM: HOW DID YOU MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM COMICS TO THE MORE SOBER SUBJECT OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT?

CESCHI: For me, there is no transition but an essential continuity in my artistic and historical interests.

CFM: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY?

CESCHI: Tutti I colori di Obama. L’altra storia delle elezioni americane (All the Colors of Obama. The Other History of American Elections) originates in my deep passion for African-American culture in all its aspects and nuances – I began as a child in the early 1980s with TV series like “The Jeffersons” and “The Bill Cosby Show” and gradually felt the need to study it seriously along the lines suggested by scholars like Rickey Vincent, author of the classic book, “Funk!” and Scott N. Brown.

Jesse Jackson participating in a rally, January 15, 1975 (Source: Wikipedia)

The rise of Sen. Barack Obama and the affirmation of a post-racial and post-ethnic approach to society led me to investigate the roots of this position, discovering exceptional figures like the comedian and political activist Dick Gregory and the Democratic Representative, Shirley Chisholm, who had campaigned in the Democratic primaries for the presidency back in the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. I discovered the Rev. Jesse Jackson – another staunch voice of post-racial politics when, as a young comics fanatic, I first parsed the verses of Melle Mel’s “Jesse.” That was 1994. His name and his story grabbed me, just as Spike Lee, Malcom X and the Black Panthers had done.

L to R: Dick Gregory, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisolm

CFM: HOW ARE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS VIEWED IN YOUR COUNTRY?

CESCHI: I was born during Gerald Ford’s brief presidency and my first memory of U.S. politics is Jimmy Carter at Camp David in the News on my maternal grandmother’s TV. Like a large part of the world’s population in the ‘80s, I grew up in Ronald Reagan’s shadow, but I kept a healthy young distance listening to rap. So I’ve always had a lot of interest in who was sitting in the Oval office, even if in my country U.S. politics and the ups and downs of the various presidents only sporadically interested public opinion before Obama. With the sole exception of Reagan, whose eight year presidency coincided with a period of epochal historic change, I would say that in Italy the U.S. presidency has always been seen with a vaguely positive indifference as something comfortable and certain to turn to with a little more attention now and again when there is some international crisis or presidential elections.

CFM: MANY HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY AND PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHAT SETS YOUR BOOK APART FROM THE REST?

CESCHI: In the three years of research the book involved, I read a lot of the books you mention. Some, like David Remnick’s The Bridge, I liked; others a lot less. If I were to indicate a difference from what has already been written about President Obama, I’d say that Tutti I colori di Obama has the advantage of restoring the fundamental (for Obama, too) experiences of figures like Dick Gregory and Shirley Chisholm – alas, too quickly forgotten by voters and politicians alike – and of integrating the history of the elections and the analysis of the political language and gestural character with pop/popular elements in day-to-day social culture like music, graphic arts and the web in the most natural way possible.

CFM: WHAT ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: Mmmmm……the heroic challenge Dick Gregory and the Peace and Freedom Party issued to the two major parties in the 1968 elections, and his “shadow government”; the feeling between Shirley Chisholm and the college crowds; the citizen diplomacy that preceded and accompanied Jesse Jackson’s first candidacy in the 1984 Democratic primaries, and Barack Obama’s fundamental parenthesis at the Harvard Law School (indispensable in the refining of his post-racial sensitivity).

CFM: HOW DID YOU SETTLE ON THE COVER IMAGE FOR YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: At first I thought I might do the cover myself, but then I thought that would be too much of the same (some of my work is on display at www.coroflot.com/ceschi1974). So I began to look through the web for names of artists who had looked at Obama. As soon as I saw Grey Williamson and Kilroy III’s [Renegade Obama] bust, I thought, “This is the one for me!”

Discovering a common background with one of the two artists only confirmed the first excellent impression. I have always appreciated a 360° approach to the artistic life. My editor liked it a lot and so we got in touch with you.

CFM: WHEN WILL YOUR BOOK BE AVAILABLE?

CESCHI: The book will be on sale from Oct. 5 – just a month before election day.

CFM: WHY SHOULD AN AMERICAN READ YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: Why should the American public read my book? Well, because it’s very, very readable and it would improve their Italian a lot! And then you can always learn something new. Seriously: because at the moment there is nothing on the American market with an approach like my book.

CFM: WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: The phrase “I couldn’t put it down!” coming from a highly respected historian colleague who had kindly offered to read the rough draft.

CFM: WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING THING ABOUT WRITING YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: It was quite difficult to find material on the black presidential candidates – surprisingly so in a number of cases – especially with regards to Shirley Chisholm (perhaps the first serious presidential candidate to be a woman). The greatest difficulty I had, however, was finding objective material to compare with the autobiographic narration Gregory furnished in his books. The last uncertainties were resolved only in Jan., 2012 at Amsterdam’s International Instituut voor social Geschiedenis.

CFM: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHAPTER OR PART OF YOUR BOOK AND WHY?

CESCHI: Sincere, I’ve never thought about it. But if I had to choose, I’d say the long chapter on Jesse Jackson, the politician whose story comes closest to Obama’s. Both, in fact, tried- though with different results – to win the presidency in a moment in which the media played a fundamental role in the success of a campaign. Not many people know that Jesse Jackson was the first national political figure to make use, during the course of the Louisiana Democratic primaries of 1984, of the immense resources afforded by informatics for political ends. In 1984, 24 years before the army of pro-Obama Facebookers!

CFM: WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AMERICAN PRESIDENT AND WHY?

Former president Jimmy Carter fields a question during his news conference in Washington, October 10, 1978. (Source: Salon)

CESCHI: Without doubt Jimmy Carter is, for reasons linked to the memory of my maternal grandmother, as I mentioned earlier; the first American president I remember. As a scholar, I have found his policy on ecology interesting and have treated it in part in an earlier book, Musica e ecologia negli Stati Uniti da Bob Dylan a Bruce Springsteen.

CFM: DOES PRESIDENT OBAMA COME IN A CLOSE SECOND?

As a historian, I think we have to wait before trying to give any final evaluation of the Obama presidency. On the other hand, while hanging on to a vigilant and healthy critical eye – a position I share with Cornel West – I cannot certainly deny that Barack and Michelle Obama have held my attention over the last six years. If the president has always impressed me with his personal sincerity – as we see it, for example, in Amy Rice’s documentary “By the People” – Michelle’s strong personality makes me think of the American past’s iconic, up-front, purposeful black ladies, like The Cosby Show’s Mrs. Claire Olivia Huxtable. Here again (as with Carter) my own early impressions inspire my sympathies and my work.

CFM: WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR READERS WALK AWAY WITH AFTER READING YOUR BOOK?

CESCHI: A more vital and informed view of the United States and the Obama presidency, whatever their political orientations may be. I would not be at all displeased if some Italian reader should take Tutti i colori di Obama along on a trip to the U.S. and go to visit some of the places the book talks about.

And I would not complain if some U.S. reader with a working knowledge of Italian wrote to me to give me any constructive comments that came to mind.

CFM: WHAT WERE YOUR OBSERVATIONS AFTER WATCHING BOTH THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTIONS?

That both conventions were held in the South is heavy with complex significance, though no one has explicitly “unpacked” the components yet as they really should.

The icon of the Tampa convention was, significantly, no candidate – not even any political figure – but a disappointing, even slightly uncertain, Clint Eastwood, and an empty chair. The Republicans showed themselves not ready to deal adequately with Hollywood, leaving viewers depressed as to what might happen when they turned their eyes or attention to everyday US reality. The Democratic convention in Charlotte showed us a far more varied assembly as to age, origins and socio-economic placement. It showed that the president’s party enjoys vigorous good health despite the economy and multiform obstructionism in Congress and in the society. Julian Castro, Bill Clinton (who cited Obama’s “More Perfect Union” speech and set out the “mathematics” of both Obama and Bush) and, perhaps even more, Michelle Obama, focused on their candidate and his personal qualities, his political stance and his achievements as president- as the Republican convention, engaged chiefly in image politics had not really attempted to do – or been able to do? – for its own candidate and his political record.  It did, however, tread lightly enough to barely allude to hot internal issues (abortion, stem cells, homosexuality ); even if Clinton mentioned alternative energy, he tied it firmly to future ‘freedom’ from ‘Arab oil’. It was left to the roaming TV cameras to show two women (one with traditional headscarf) displaying “Arab-Americans for Obama” placards. Prudently, no mention was made of the unrealized promise to close down Guantanamo, or the continuing concern for the on-going violations of the word and the spirit of the First Amendment. If Obama not only wins, but the Party wins a Congressional majority, perhaps this scene may change.

Summing up: the convention(s)’ climate, over-all, was sort of ‘80s sit com and so leads me to hope for the best over the next four years. Nor do I think that the dramatic events in Libya, Egypt and some Middle Eastern countries can seriously damage Obama as a candidate.

CFM: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM RESEARCHING AND WRITING THIS BOOK AND WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?

I got to know two exceptional people – Dick Gregory and Shirley Chisholm (Jesse Jackson I already knew) – and I followed their human and political adventures step by step.

At the moment I’ve got a headful of ideas. The search for a new challenge might be resolved “on the spot” in January, 2013, when I’ll  be in Boston for about ten days. Maybe that will pull the switch and point a spot-light in the right direction. Who can say?

Have a question or comment for Mr. Ceschi? (Please email him at matteo.ceschi(at)yahoo.it). His book will be available October 5th through Franco Angeli Editore (www.francoangeli.it).

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #spreadLOVE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matteo Ceschi is a historian of African-American culture and U.S. counterculture. He writes for a music magazine and teaches History of journalism and music journalism at the University eCampus in Italy. He has worked with the chair of North American History and Contemporary History at the faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Milan. In 2000 he joined the comparative history project Milan-Montpellier Group, founded in 1980 by Italian, American and French academics. He is author of Musica Nera/Black Music (Milan: 2005) and Green Rock. Music and Ecology in the United States from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen (Milan: 2008) and numerous essays in Italian and English.

CANVASS 44: Toy Designer & Sculptor Eric Nocella Diaz Supports President Obama

Tuttz meets the Renegade

“The Renegade Obama bust is a really good platform. A good game plan to try to enhance the bust as a custom will be difficult. Thing is, even unpainted it doesn’t need anything and to add something… the trick is to not diminish it.”

~ Eric Nocella Diaz

Eric Nocella Diaz was one of the first artists to commit to participating in CANVASS 44. We have a long history with Mr. Nocella Diaz. Through his toy production company, he has been instrumental in helping us bring multiple collectible sculpts and toys to market, including the Renegade Obama bust.

When we shared the concept of CANVASS 44 with Eric in early 2011, he was very supportive of our efforts to contribute art that documented the accomplishments of the 44th President, beyond his election. This was during a time when President Obama’s popularity had predictably dropped after his historic election…and after fighting for healthcare reform.

So it was a natural fit to invite him to embellish the Renegade Obama bust as part of CANVASS 44. We invited artists to interpret the President’s statement:

“This is what change looks like.”

~ President Barack Obama

The “canvas” is a specially prepared Renegade Obama bust pictured above next to one of Eric’s collectibles, the Tuttz. The 1/6th scale bust is approximately 11 inches high and was sculpted by Grey Williamson & Kilroy III.

As Eric finalizes his designs, we will share additional images of his custom Renegade Obama bust.

Please share your Obama-inspired art with us @CANVASS44.

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #registertovote #spreadLOVE

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Eric Nocella Diaz has been sculpting toy prototypes, maquettes and statues professionally for over 15 years. He has worked on high-profile projects with major toy companies such as ToyBiz, Marvel, Mcfarlane Toys, ToysRus, Hasbro, Kidrobot, DC Direct, Art Asylum and Ka-Ching Brands. Some of the licensed projects he has worked on for those companies range from the award-winning Beatles Yellow Submarine toy line, E.T., Preschool Spiderman, Lord Of The Rings, Classic Avengers, Japanese Anime FLCL, Batman Begins to the Video Game Award crowned monkey trophy for Spike TV. He is also a co-publisher, art director and editor of independent comic books through Xmoor Studios as well as a producer of popular high-end designer resin toys through his toy companies GoldMane EntertainmentArgonaut Resins.

TRU SOUL MOVEMENT: Crashing, Believing and Thinking Forward by Derrick Trotman

Obama Crashes the RNC
Dimensions: 8.5×11
Medium: Pencil, Prisma Marker, Charcoal, Photoshop

“I have been keeping up with all the policies and political theatre going on in the country since Obama has been president and have been frustrated with all the coded jabs. Republicans that fear the natural change in this country’s ethnic and moral changes and see President Obama as a threat to their illusion of power. Mitt Romney’s healthcare bill is the same blue print as the Affordable Care Act but because a democratic President passed a law they once pushed for is now seen as a sin.

The theme of the illustration show cases how Obama likes to pop up and make an entrance.

What better way to show your contender that you mean business than to show up on the one night where the opponent is suppose to shine not the incumbent.”

~ Tru Soul

Obama I BELIEVE IN YOU
Dimensions: 8.5×11
Medium: Prisma Marker, Sharpe Ball Point Marker

“Back in 2010 i could see early on that the problems and issues President Obama was trying to fix would not happen; due in large part to Republicans dividing the nation on social and cultural issues. President Obama believes so much in the america dream because he is a true living example having a mother who was white and a father who was black.

President Obama believes the power is still with the people and he means to put it in their hands with a strong education and a growing economy.

The over lapping colors of red and blue showcase how tightly woven the differences and opinions of the country really are. President Obama knows that the issues he faces are not easy ones which is reflected in his tight looking face.

Over all the message of the piece is that only by working together to solve our common problems will we truly strive as a United States.”

~ Tru Soul

Thinking Forward
Dimensions: 11 x 14
Medium: Pencil, Prisma Markers, Charcoal

“This piece is meant to showcase the mental toughness and strain that President Obama faces every day. For killing Osama Bin Laden, to Bailing out GM and adverting a depression; to providing quality health care for all, ending DADT and equal pay for women. The President has been under the most pressure, and dealt the worst hand and still maintains his cool and connection to the american people. Republicans have called into question his qualification to lead based on the color of his skin and the name he is known by.

Thinking Forward is a piece that says despite the hardships we have faced in the past and are presently dealing with, the future is still bright and we must move forward. It showcases the seriousness at which the President has for those in his administration to the hard-working middle class and poor.”

~ Tru Soul

A portion of proceeds from these three pieces of art will be donated to the re-election efforts for President Obama. All pieces can be purchased at Mr. Trotman’s website www.TruSoul.org. Be a part of the movement by following Tru Soul on twitter @TruSoulmovement

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #registertovote #neverforget #spreadLOVE

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Derrick Trotman’s Tru Soul movement is about authentic art that raises awareness and promotes originality. He is an illustrator, designer, poet and thinker who enjoys working in multiple mediums including pencils, prisma marker, deco paint, charcoal, bamboo wood ink, water-color and digital painting. His primary influences have been his mother, Stan Lee, Cezanne, Matisse, Jim Lee, The Itialian Renissance, Debroah Haverty,  Justin Bua, African art and fractals. Learn more about Mr. Trotman by visiting www.trusoul.org

CANVASS 44: Mother Hunger, Art and Perspective and President Obama

“The Problem We All Live With” by Norman Rockwell

“Mother hunger — to be one or have one”

                                                    ~ Toni Morrison

… the desire to protect and be protected…  to be seen as a human worthy to be celebrated… admired…forgiven…

It’s not about celebrating one over another. It’s about equal protection for a chance to get it right… or to get it wrong…

I think President Obama got it right when he honored the bravery of a six year old girl named Ruby Bridges by hanging Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Problem We All Live With” in the White House. Many thought the President got it wrong by choosing to highlight such an “ugly” part of American history. I see the image of Ruby shielded by several U.S. Marshalls and my heart aches and swells with pride. I guess we all have a right to choose what we will never forget…

Perspective…

Here we are in 2012, and some of the American media seems to have a tough time celebrating certain people’s achievements… Sometimes it is just the tone of the reporter… sometimes it is the persistent questioning of mental strength and preparedness… as if to diminish the hard work and mental toughness en route to becoming an Olympic champion twice over… (Thank you Gabby Douglas).

I understand that because Great Britain was the host country of the Olympics, the American media was keen to follow and celebrate their team’s wins (mainly when the American teams were not in medal contention)… however, as a multi-national patriot, I felt something else was going on… An air of exclusion that I have unfortunately grown accustom to…

Who do we readily accept as our heroes? And if someone who looks like Gabby Douglas (or Serena Williams) is that hero… do we explain it away by saying they are exceptions and not the rule (quite different from being exceptional, mind you)…? When the American flag fell during Serena’s medal ceremony, I felt a slight twinge of anxiety for how some would interpret it as a bad sign… But Serena’s response made my heart soar:

“…it was probably flying to come hug me because the flag was so happy.”

                                                                                                             ~ Serena Williams

The flag was not the only happy one, Miss Williams. (And while I’m celebrating Serena’s win, I’d like to congratulate some of my other favorite Olympic athletes… Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Allyson Felix, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Samuel Mikulak and Usain Bolt).

The problems we all live with… we may not agree on what they are or how to solve them, but I can say this… I believe President Obama is the right one to deal with the problems of America.

Having a colorful past is about as American as it gets. (And just an FYI to Team Romney… America’s “shared heritage” expands well beyond the borders of Great Britain…). I designed my first multi-national symbol for my mom’s “seoul food” eatery… but it seems to have resonated with many people… so I designed a few more variations. I am posting it on CANVASS 44…to represent all multi-nationals who support President Obama.

Representing the change in America that  has been here all along… From left to right: Americans from Cape Verde, Israel, Canada, Ghana, Japan, Korea and China. More to come…

A portion of proceeds from all merchandise on the CANVASS 44 store will go to the re-election campaign for President Obama, Partners in Health and the BVSJ.

Please share your art with us in support of the President via twitter @CANVASS44.

Thanks for reading!

~ Onjena

#sayitLOUD #registertovote #neverforget #spreadLOVE

ABOUT RUBY BRIDGES & NORMAN ROCKWELL

Ruby Bridges Hall now serves on the board of Norman Rockwell Museum and founded The Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. She commended Rockwell for having “enough courage to step up to the plate and say I’m going to make a statement, and he did it in a very powerful way.”

Norman Rockwell received letters of both praise and criticism for depicting such direct social commentary in his painting “The Problem We All Live With.” Rockwell continued to revisit the theme of civil rights in several other of his illustrations from the period.

*A very special shout out to @problemwthat for encouraging me to share my American story.