Just in time for the November elections, Kiwi artist Henry Hargreaves is releasing a series of presidential portraits composed of carefully molded Jell-O. The photographer used the colour palette of the US flag to indicate miscellaneous information within the portraits. A comical take on the dominant topic of conversation, the collection might also be a tremendously valuable reference guide for young students hoping to memorize past presidents.
According to the key, left-facing presidents indicate that only a single term was served, smaller stars mean that the commander-in-chief died in office and splattered jello around the head calls out—rather gruesomely—that the figure was assassinated. Hargreaves also uses the colours to define the political lean, which holds up well for the red-blue divide of modern-day Republicans and Democrats, though more muddled configurations are needed for the now-defunct Federalist and Whig contingencies.
For the individual portraits, profiles are paired with assorted facts that range from Obama’s comic book habit to Thomas Jefferson’s self-authored epitaph, which failed to mention his role as president. For the most part, the series is a fun and non-partisan take on the history of the executive branch. Hargreaves does render Obama as facing to the right, which—if the key holds true—would indicate a two-term presidency.
What I love the most about these pieces, is that they are so unexpected. Hargreaves has used an ordinary household item in an extraordinary way, creating something truly unique. By capturing the presidents in this manner, Hargreaves has brought Jello into the current political landscape and brought the children’s brand into an otherwise disconnected conversation.
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