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Artistic political statements are often made loudly, or rather obnoxiously, like the naked, flabby Trump statues that popped up in various cities this summer. But Polish-American artist Olek’s latest piece it a little more subtle.
At first glance, the 16-by-46-foot billboard, which was unveiled alongside a New Jersey highway this weekend, looks like a fairly standard Hillary Clinton ad with her headshot and the #ImWithHer hashtag. The catch? The entire thing was crocheted.
The yarn artist told the New Yorker that it took her team of 38 volunteers just under four weeks to create the billboard, which is comprised of an astounding 794,880-plus stitches. The piece is in part a response to the sexism Clinton has faced, including the fact that little art has been made about her during the election. “A lot of artists had at one point been doing pro-Bernie art, and a lot since were doing anti-Trump art, but there simply had not been much pro-Hillary art,” Olek told the New Yorker.
This election has been fueled by hate and negativity. I have been watching the process from afar, as I was working abroad. Initially, I did not want to make overtly political art. But then I realized I must, as too much is at stake. I could either make a negative statement about the other candidate or a positive one about Hillary. When a piece of art has 1000 hours of hand labor invested in it, I’d rather it be a positive statement. Hillary might not be cool, but she is qualified, experienced and competent. I don’t want to hang out with her. I don’t want to drink beer with her. I don’t want to go dancing all night with her. I want her to be our president. I want her to run this country! People, wake up! This is history happening in front of you, incredible and groundbreaking. The first African-American president will pass the most important job in the USA to the first woman president. No one would have imagined this just 50 years ago. So yes, these are amazing times! Look at what is happening in Europe. Countries are returning to a conservative stance and people’s rights are being trampled and revoked. Few believed Brexit could take place, but indeed it did. We should learn from this mistake. Hate crimes are escalating. Immigrants, and especially polish citizens, are being beaten and even killed. We cannot let this happen here in USA. We cannot go down this path of destruction in The United States of America. #imwithher #olek #teamolek #togetherwearestronger 📷 by Penn Eastburn @drpennock
A photo posted by Olek (@oleknyc) on
Olek says that Clinton has also seen her fair share of prejudice, in the art world and otherwise, because she isn’t hip. “Hillary might not be cool, but she is qualified, experienced, and competent,” she said. “Yeah, I don’t want to hang out with her. I don’t want to drink beer with her. I don’t want to go dancing all night with her. But I want her to be our president.”
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.