David Niari: The X Factor

I love when I see art that expresses exactly what I'm thinking about:
I especially love this drawing because it's produced by someone I know and consider a member of my family. Indeed, Chicago-based artist, David A. Johnson-Niari has been my husband's best friend since middle school, and today, David's unveiling his most recent piece entitled "The X-Factor".

The pencil drawing illuminates President Barack Obama shaking hands with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of course, the drawing is a take on the iconic photograph of Dr. King shaking hands with another beloved civil rights icon, Malcolm X.
David says that as an African American, he's been inspired by Barack Obama since the days of Obama's first State Senate run in Illinois. He shared that his, "Approach to this piece came about as a means of paying an artistic tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives, ideals and dreams to make this kind of future possible." David also, "Wanted this history reflected in his repertoire of work as a means of honorably recognizing its impact on his life as an artist."

Amen to that.

Not all of us have the ability to express how we're feeling through creating such a beautiful piece of art. But, surely we can each put such beauty into the world through our own individual actions.


Anonymous said…
The organizers of the MLK celeration I went to today had great T-shorts - the front had a picture of King and said, "I have a dream." The back had Obama and said, "I am that dream."
Ian Lidster said…
I think, considering the momentous nature of the occasion, that it would be impossible for most artists or writers to really express the exultation over it all. I love the idea of the Ts citizen mentions. Actually it is so simple that it works.
Jen said…
Lovely post, Liz.

And your friend has produced a wonderful piece of art that is very affecting.
I'm just wondering this ... is it tomorrow yet?

Unfortunately, I'll be in a meeting from 9-11 (Pacific), and will miss the inauguration (darn my need of a paycheck!)

And that is a FANTASTIC piece of artwork.
Ingrid said…
that piece is wonderful
Shiona said…
That is a wonderful piece. How cool would it be to depict something like that. Awesome.
President Obama is the first to acknowledge that to some degree, other great men and women paved the way for his success.

He has already changed the world in many important ways as he is indeed that dream. We are lucky to live in this exciting time when all things suddenly seem possible.
Anonymous said…
A great quote. Very true that success often comes from persistence and not being put off by daunting circumstances. Barack is certainly the living proof of that. Can't wait for the inauguration.
Liz Dwyer said…
That's a great shirt! A whole lot of dreams are coming true in a few short hours. It's so exciting.

It is definitely difficult to describe and express how amazing a moment this is. I'm not sure if it's even really sinking in yet for me.

Thanks, Jen. He's so very talented and it's lovely to see that talent producing something so beautiful.

Not tellin' you my name,
It is definitely a fantastic piece! And I am SO sorry you'll be in a meeting. Who in the world schedules a meeting then?!? AAGH!

He has an amazing gift for creating beautiful things. I love it.

I know, right? I wish I had the ability to create something so visually moving.

We are very lucky to live in this time, witnessing history in such a GOOD way. There is so much suffering in the world but this is truly a bright spot in it all.

I'm a big believer in persistence. Anything worth having is worth working for. Gosh, this is SO exciting!
Anonymous said…
So what did you think of the inaugural speech, Liz? I have to say I thought it a bit disappointing - rather wordy and over-detailed, not quite the succinct, stirring, message of hope I was expecting. But what a historic occasion nevertheless!
Liz Dwyer said…
The man could've said, "Wow, it's cold out here!" and I would've cheered! I really liked it but I think it improves after a couple of reads.
Anonymous said…
I am from England, UK and I am a Black man of mixed so called black white heritage.
All us Black people here in England are so proud of having a new Black president because we thought that we would never see it in our lifetime.
The USA is indeed a special place and although people criticise it a lot the constitution does allow for miracles like this one!
God Bless America!
Liz Dwyer said…
You are so sweet to say that. It has been a wonderfully remarkable and blessed day. I feel like something's forever changed for the better, not just here in the States, but in the world... and look, we "mixed" kids that were supposedly going to grow up being confused and crazy over our identity, look at us... we can be President too!
Anonymous said…
Is the picture for sale?
Liz Dwyer said…
I'll ask him if he's selling prints. I'd love to buy one too.
SHANGO said…
Peace SIS..

Its Cliffs sister
Dave killed this pic..


This brother is
beyond multi talented..

Anonymous said…
To enjoy David Niari's "X-Factor" go to obamashirt.bigcartel.com to order this historic picture on a shirt.

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