Alumni debuts ‘Manifest of Hope’ at inauguration

Josh Johnston

Obama and his policies inspire ‘portraits of hope’

Kent State graduate Michael Murphy is showcasing Barack Obama’s true colors at his inauguration this week.

Murphy, a former art major who concentrated in sculpting, said he was inspired by Obama’s policies and created abstract works of art showing Obama in a whole new light.

Each Obama piece Murphy created has a different meaning, showing what Obama has planned for the future. Some of his works symbolize health care reform, workers’ rights and a green economy. They range from pastel paintings and shadow portraits to wire sculptures and nails hammered into wood.

Murphy named his Obama exhibit “Manifest of Hope,” symbolizing that Obama has aspirations to pull America out of the recession. This exhibit will be showing in Washington D.C. during the time of Barack Obama’s inauguration from Jan. 17-19 outside of the White House.

Murphy said he chose Obama as the inspiration for so many pieces because he thought Obama was the American symbol of hope. He wanted to portray Obama as an inspiration for those who feel lost.

For Murphy, Obama was more than an art muse; he said he is a true believer in all of Obama’s policies. Obama’s words were so much of an inspiration for Murphy, that he said he would work on his artwork while he was listening to one of Obama’s live speeches or replay them as he worked.

Murphy said he thinks it’s truly incredible doing something you love and seeing people enjoy it.

“It’s like eating chocolate cake and others benefiting from it,” Murphy said.

He said he wants to use his passion for art to raise awareness in citizens’ minds, which is why he calls many of his pieces “portraits of hope.”

As he was working on his artwork, Murphy said he began to notice parallels between Obama and a situation one of his friends was going through.

His friend was born with a tumor taking over the entire left side of his face, distorting his appearance and functioning capabilities. As the news of his friend got worse, Murphy began seeing the similarities.

When Obama released his campaign slogan ‘Yes we can,’ Murphy said his friend soon adapted the attitude, ‘Yes I can’ and both understood how important and necessary change is in his situation and in many other situations for people to grow.

Murphy said he wants people to look at his work and realize that Obama brings hope to those who feel hopeless and gives change where it is badly needed.

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