October 2016Focus2016

Focus on Art and Global Issues: United States’ Election

By Mariah McCloskey
Staff Writer

The political rhetoric coming from the current presidential race has caused many voters to become frustrated, even to the point of reconsidering their affiliation. In particular, artists around the world have used a variety of mediums to convey their perspectives on Republican candidate Donald Trump and his policies.

A former Trump campaign bus went up for sale on Craigslist, and artists Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson transformed it into a traveling anti-Trump piece. Mihelic and Gleeson redesigned the bus to read T.RUMP instead of TRUMP.  His campaign slogan was then crossed out and replaced with a taunting “#women trump trump” on one side and “#make fruit punch great again” on the other.

Historian Enrique Krauze has also been an outspoken critic of the Republican nominee for repeatedly scapegoating Mexico and Mexicans in his campaign and demanding that the nation pay for a massive border wall to keep out immigrants. The cover of the October issue of Krauze’s Mexican literary magazine Letras Libres is a critique of Trump. It shows a magnified image of his face with the words “Fascista Americano” (American Fascist) lined over his top lip to create the shape of a Hitler-style mustache.

Mindaugas Bonanu, a Lithuanian artist, continued the trend and painted a mural highlighting the similarities between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Drawing on a famous 1979 photo of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker, Bonanu painted Trump and Vladimir Putin kissing.

The piece appears on the walls of Keulė Rūkė, a Lithuanian restaurant, and offers a critique on the sort of “unsavory” alliances that might emerge if Trump were to be elected into office. It presents their similarities boldly; they both have huge egos, and it’s amusing to see they are getting along well. Trump has been quoted saying that Putin is “going to say great things,” and that Mr. Putin is “really very much of a leader.”

Critics believe that Trump’s comments only contribute to the idea that women are worth less than men, and that he, as a man, holds all the power. There has been an attempt to combat this overblown focus on manliness. Upon listening to the March 3 Republican Primary Debate, American artist Sarah Levy became offended by a controversial comment trump made about FOX debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Following the Republican presidential debate on Fox News, Trump said of moderator Kelly, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

To respond, Levy painted a portrait of Donald J. Trump entirely out of her own menstrual blood. Levy stated, “Women are totally capable when they are on their period and that shouldn’t even be an issue,” and if Trump thinks he can bring up a woman’s period to insult their intelligence, he should think again. Many people got behind her artwork and Levy quickly saw people tweeting their own anger at the politician with the #BloodyTrump similar to the women who wrote about their own periods using the hashtag #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult.

In order to process Trump’s controversial comments and the impact they have on society, the public has turned to art. These artist not only captured Trump’s absurdities, but spun him into something humorous.

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