The August 2012 cover of Fuera de Serie features the first lady’s face superimposed over the 1800 “Portrait d’une négresse.” A painting by French artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist.
The painting was completed six years after that nation’s abolition of slavery and has been regarded by art historians as a commentary on both sexism and racism during the time.
Some experts see the image a as tribute to emancipation and the beginning of a feminist movement in France.
Granted, the magazine actually praises Michelle Obama in the article and refers to her as the “gran mujer” (great woman) behind her powerful husband, but did they go to far?
An excerpt reads:
“In the shadow of the U.S. President is a person whose popularity ratings exceed those of Barack’s own. This person is none other than his wife Michelle…
To find out how Michelle has managed to seduce the American people . . . [we] detail the secrets of a woman has not [just] only won the heart of Barack Obama.”
According to the NYDailyNews, the photoshopped cover portrait was part of a series of “famous nudes” by artist Karine Percheron-Daniels.
But the image has caused controversy online and off, with many viewing it as laced with racist undertones.
“I find the editorial decision to portray Obama as the embodiment of enslavement and colonization extremely troubling,” writes Althea Legal-Miller in Clutch magazine.
“Let’s be clear: This image has nothing to do with acknowledging Obama’s enslaved foremothers, and everything to do with reinforcing and extending the historical denial of black women’s individuality and agency,” she said.
The White House has yet to comment on the issue. Compare the two side by side and give your opinion…
Offensive or artistic?