A new mural of former first lady Michelle Obama, painted on a building in the Chicago neighborhood where she lived as a child and remains popular, would seem like an innocuous project.
But the mural, by Chicago artist Chris Devins, has sparked intense debate — and not for the usual political reasons.
Shortly after Devins finished the mural last Friday, criticism began bubbling up online. People accused him of copying the image from Rhode Island art student Gelila Mesfin, who had posted a nearly identical portrait of Michelle Obama on Instagram last year.
Portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama by Rhode Island art student Gelila Mesfin.
News of the mural’s existence came as a huge surprise to Mesfin, too.
“How can you just steal someone’s artwork… someone’s hard work and claim it like it’s yours…” she wrote Saturday in an Instagram post.
“How can you go on record and say you designed this… this is so disheartening and so disrespectful on so many levels…” Mesfin added. “It’s one thing to share or even profit from someone’s work but to claim it as yours is just wrong!”
In an interview Tuesday with CNN, Devins denied any wrongdoing. He said he didn’t know who Mesfin was prior to last week and only learned of her artwork after someone on Instagram notified him of her accusations.
“I credited Ms. Mesfin for her work immediately. I’ve taken the heat and will gladly do so as long as the kids have a mural they can look up to,” he said.
Devins said he got the idea for the mural from an image he found on Pinterest that depicted the former first lady as an Egyptian queen. He said he didn’t know where it had originated.
Devins, who calls himself an urban planner as well as an artist, is known for painting large outdoor murals and installations around Chicago. He said he chose the mural’s location — across the street from an elementary school Michelle Obama once attended on the city’s South Side — because “I wanted a mural that would serve as an inspiration for the young ladies on Chicago’s South Side and young ladies everywhere.”
Devins launched a GoFundMe page and raised nearly $12,000 before completing the mural.
In recent days he has been careful to credit Mesfin in all his social media posts. He said he has not spoken directly to Mesfin about the controversy but has offered to pay her a licensing fee and is negotiating with her attorney.
“For me, this is a time for learning and self-reflection, not justification. Though I did not receive any funds based on Ms. Mesfin’s work, I was granted money based on a socially responsible message about Black women,” he said in a statement. “She has accepted my extended hand of friendship and collaboration.”
Devins is certainly not the first artist to appropriate someone else’s work. In fact, Mesfin herself adapted her Obama portrait from a photograph by Collier Schorr that appeared last fall in the New York Times’ magazine. She has consistently credited Schorr in her Instagram posts.
CNN has reached out to Mesfin for comment but has yet to hear back.
But in a statement posted on her social media accounts, Mesfin said she has been in contact with Devins in hopes of resolving the issue “in a professional manner.”
“I only ask that everyone keep this positive towards him; I preach love, not anger or hate of any kind,” she added.
Erdogan, confident that Trump will waive sanctions on Turkey.
Source: Reuters- U.S. President Donald Trump has the authority to waive sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of Russian air defense systems and should find a “middle ground” in the dispute, President Tayyip Erdogan says.
First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019.
Erdogan’s comments came two days after NATO member Turkey took delivery of the first consignment of advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system parts, despite warnings from Washington that the move would trigger U.S. sanctions.
Broadcaster Haberturk quoted Erdogan as telling Turkish journalists that Trump “has the authority to waive or postpone CAATSA”, referring to U.S. sanctions designed to prevent countries buying military equipment from Russia.
“Since this is the case, it is Trump who needs to find the middle ground,” Erdogan said, according to Haberturk.
Trump expressed sympathy for Turkey’s position when he met Erdogan at a G20 summit in Japan last month, saying Ankara had bought the S-400s from Moscow because the previous U.S. administration would not sell it the Patriot defense system made by Raytheon Co.
“Right now, I don’t believe Trump is of the same opinion of those below him and he has said this in front of all the world’s media,” Erdogan said. “By buying the S-400s, we are not getting ready for war. We are trying to guarantee peace and our national security.”
Despite Trump’s warm words, U.S officials said last week the administration still planned to act.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Washington Post in an interview published late on Sunday “the law requires that there be sanctions and I’m confident that we will comply with the law and President Trump will comply with the law”.
U.S. officials have said Turkey could also be thrown off the F-35 stealth fighter jet program in addition to the threatened CAATSA sanctions,
Meaning it would no longer be part of the production process or be able to buy the jets it has ordered.
The Pentagon says the S-400s would pose a threat to the jets if they were operating in the same region.
Erdogan said Turkey had orders for more than 100 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin and expected Washington to remain committed to the deal.
Erdogan said Turkey still wanted to buy Patriot missile defense systems from Washington and the two countries should be aiming to increase trade and work on “comprehensive defense cooperation”.
“Trump has always viewed this positively,” he said. “ … Now, at a time when we are discussing mutual trade volumes of $75 billion, $100 billion, will we be dealing with this gossip? Why should we? We are strategic partners, let’s do what strategic partnership entails.”
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Nigeria: Actress Regina Daniels Married to Billionaire Ned Nwoko? Here’s Why I married Her.
We all heard that Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels is customarily married to businessman/politician, Ned Nwoko who happens to be 59 years old (Not like it matters). They had a customary marriage ceremony at Asaba which was the hometown of the Daniel’s.
Hon. Ned Nwoko, a former member of the House of Representatives, is 59 (Like we mentioned earlier, not like it matters again) and his newest wife, Regina is 18 years old meaning that he had or maybe has four other wives. The billionaire politician also happens to be a muslim and can lawfully have as many wives as his relgion allows (Your research can start afterwards)
Also, he cited his royal background as another factor for his harem of women.
Recall that Ned Nwoko married one Miss Nwakaego Ukachukwu, his Special Adviser on Legal Matters and also gifted her a N20 million BMW car as well as a posh mansion in a high-brow area in Abuja.
Married to five wives, Nwoko has been the one splashing cash and spoiling Regina Daniels silly with expensive gifts. He bought her the expensive cars including a house in GRA Asaba which the actress brandished on social media some weeks ago as a gift to her mother, Rita Daniels.
Don’t forget little Regina flaunted a N3.3m Rolex wristwatch, some days after her gift to her mum.
Obviously, Regina has been dating the billionaire for at least over a year or close to two. When asked if Ned Nwoko could be accused of cradle-snatching, sources close to him hinted that Nwoko didn’t touch her until she was of age.
It was also gathered that Mr. Nwoko sometimes flies the actress to Abuja on his private jet to one of his cozy homes where he also enjoys quiet times with her.
The wedding ceremony, which held last weekend was a private affair as the few family members invited were instructed not to take photographs. There wasn’t much glitz as many would have wanted and everybody complied with the wish of the couple to have a discreet ceremony.
Her mother, Rita Daniels, is also an actress. Currently, a Mass Communication student of the Igbinedion University, Benin, she became a social media sensation recently when she started flaunting luxury on her Instagram page. From flying private jets to different parts of the world to flaunting luxury cars, she became the kind of newsmaker acting never afforded her.
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