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Chicagoans Notice New Mural Of Michelle, Outraged After Noticing One Detail

A new mural of Michelle Obama has been revealed, and it's caused an uproar. The image, featured on the side of a Chicago building, is of the former first lady looking regal and dressed as an Egyptian queen. The person who planned and executed the project is now embroiled in a plagiarism battle.

Chris Devins, who calls himself an artist and urban planner, is the man behind the Chicago project. Devins raised $12,000 on GoFundMe to make his vision a reality and put the image of Mrs. Obama in a prominent place.

The problem is that Devins didn't create the image. The image was created by a student from Ethiopia who has long admired Mrs. Obama.

Gelila Mesfin didn't even create the original image. She took an image from New York Times photographer Collier Schorr, then digitally altered it to create the Egyptian queen portrait. She shared her work on Instagram, crediting the original photographer.

Devins then used Mesfin's digital art, copied exactly, without crediting her or the original photographer. This has stirred a great deal of outrage.

“I was very disheartened when he did that,” Mesfin said to The Washington Post. “There’s a common code among all artists that you can get inspired by someone’s work but you have to pay homage and you have to give credit for it.”

Devins initially responded to Mesfin's outrage by posting a Pablo Picasso quote, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."

He then went on to argue that he couldn't have plagiarized it because Mesfin was not a real artist, and that he was not claiming to be an artist when he reproduced the work (he insists it was part of his community development work, rather than his art).

Devins and Mesfin are now working with lawyers to negotiate a resolution. The real problem is that neither has a leg to stand on, since both are derivatives of another artist’s work. Schorr is the true copyright holder, and there has been no comment from the photographer on the matter yet.

Source: Washington Post
Photo: Opposing Views

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