Obama was in Chicago this past Wednesday and his motorcade passed by a spirited demonstration – Chicago Says No Keystone XL – led by 350.org and the Sierra Club Illinois that was intent to remind him to reject the KXL. Paul Kjelland and I made the four large oil heads for the demo. The Obama graphic read “Legacy on the Line”; the Stephen Harper and David Koch graphic “Tar Sands Profiteer”; and the Bush graphic “Big Oil Mercenary.” Obama has a major choice to make this year: have the courage to reject the KXL and the fossil fuel lobby or be in the company of those who are truly destroying this fragile planet.
As Sara from 350.org stated, “The only people who stand to profit from this dangerous pipeline and increased tar sands extraction are the special interests of the oil industry and the Koch brothers. We’ve already seen that Harper is in the pocket of Big Oil. Obama has a choice to make: does he choose Big Oil and special interests, or does he protect the air, water, and climate of the people who elected him? We hope he makes the right choice.”
The graphics themselves referenced a piece of Chicago activist art history. In 2003 the Street Rec group created a series of oil heads – Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz – that were seen in a number of street demos against the Iraq War. The large heads were an absolute magnet for the camera and just a great way to break the routine of banners and placards that have become the norm at demos.
So, expect to see these updated oil heads at future demos in Chicago and beyond. And hopefully this past Wednesday Obama looked out the window of his motorcade and felt some pressure from the people, pressure to help counteract the pressure that he receives daily from the oil and gas lobby that has just about purchased the Federal and State branches of government – all at the detriment of our democracy and our environment.
Signs in the studio….