The Library of Congress has just opened a new exhibit in honor of Kenya’s “son of the soil”, and our hope for positive change, President Barack Obama. The exhibit called “Obamabilia From Africa!” showcases the pride and excitement that Obama’s historic journey generated across the continent. Various African embassies furnished the library with a collection of pictures, ornaments, clothes, CD’s and much more Obama inspired memorabilia, and will be on display until July 31st.
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that the Obamabilia craze here in the US produced a $200 million market, prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration. His campaign for presidency spawned some amazingly inspiring creations, such as Shepard Fairey’s famous “Hope” poster. For more information, design blog Visual Culture offers an informative retrospective of “Visual Effects” of the Obama craze.
Although there were numerous talentless hacks who created some “Obama inspired” atrocities for the sake of a quick buck. An Obama tea blend, Obama O’s (yes – a cereal), and even an amusing little video game called Super Obama World were some of the most random, yet original creations of Obamabilia. It’s safe to say that never in history has a presidential candidate stirred so much fervor – and profit from a nation’s populace.
Ultimately, Barack Obama’s image, and inspiring message hasn’t just influenced the hearts and minds of American citizens, he managed to convey the essence of hope on a global scale as well. Mary-Jane Deeb, a curator of The Library of Congress’ says it best:
”American elections have always been of enormous interest to countries around the world, but this particular election has broken the mold.”
After the hysteria has died down, we wait, witness history in the making, and preserve our own potentially profitable Obamabilia in the process.