Sunday, 28 June 2009

Obama's People

Obeying his whim of iron, Mr Gnome made a summer Sunday beeline for Birmingham and allowed Serendipity to do the rest....

His splendid discovery was the highly impressive photographic exhibiiton Obama's People, hosted by that glorious people's palace the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum.

Following last November's election, the New York Times commissioned photographer Nadav Kander to create a series of portraits of the men and women of the new administration - from the Vice-President to the presidential body-guard.

And here they are, portrayed in big, rather stark images of a remarkably diverse group of people.

Some gaze impassively into the camera, others glance away, a few seem eager to please and one or two have a look of 'Why me?' astonishment.

Curator Rhonda Wilson (of arts company Rhubarb Rhubarb) was on hand to give an engaging talk in which she sketched the series of events which led to this high-profile art show coming not to Washington DC, New York or Paris - but to Birmingham.

(Although she didn't toot her own trumpet, it became pretty apparent that much of the credit for this curatorial coup should go to the energetic Ms Wilson herself.)

The exhibition captures something of the spirit of optimism that powered Obama's journey to the White House.

Let's pray that Obama and his people keep faith with us - and we with them.

Although photography is not allowed in the show, Rhonda kindly agreed to pose beside her favourite portrait - that of 24-year-old Keeper of-the Presidential Contacts Book Eugene Kang.

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