The Passion of the Obama?! 'CNN Newsroom' Showcases Obama Iconography

January 7th, 2009 5:26 PM

Shortly before noon today, CNN anchor Tony Harris turned to producer Tyson Wheatley for a look at the latest from CNN's "iReport" desk. Wheatley proceeded to show Harris and the viewers at home some of the art work done by CNN's "iReporters," including one item that evoked an image from a promotional poster for 2004's Mel Gibson film, "The Passion of the Christ." [audio excerpt here]

Here's the transcript, you can view the video embed at the right (h/t fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein):

HARRIS: I like it. Yes. Be bold in '09. I've got to ask you something. We've got the inauguration coming up in just a couple days here, really a couple weeks, less than that, really. And I'm wondering, are we putting our iReporters to work? I mean, there have to be all kinds of opportunities for us and our iReporters.

WHEATLEY: That's right. We're going to be doing several big projects ahead of the inauguration. This is just one of them, actually. And it really has to do with all of the, sort of the inspired art that we've seen a lot of around the Obama campaign and also the historic presidential win.

And what you're looking at right here is from Michael Murphy. This is an art professor at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, and he created this piece out of wire. And it took him three days to make. And, you know, basically, Michael tells us that Obama to him represents hope, and he wanted to make a powerful representation. He also wanted to make a piece that the viewer could be rewarded to by looking at just the right --

HARRIS: Look at this.

WHEATLEY: Let's go ahead and skip ahead. Yes, you're going to love this. This is from Jason Dooley. He's a 27-year-old graphic design student at Georgia State University. This is a topography project, and the concept was inspired by the movie poster, "The Passion of the Christ," where --


WHEATLEY: And you know, to him, he said he wanted to create something that depicted pressure, strength, and uncertainty, all within one image. And, you know, the way he did this, if you look closely, he used several layers of handwritten type.


WHEATLEY: Including passages from the Bible, campaign speeches and from Julius Caesar. So as with all great art, open for interpretation, and this is a great example of ways people are being creative.

HARRIS: A little caveat on that. Yes.

WHEATLEY: We're inviting people to share their creative, artistic portraits, if you will, of Barack Obama and his family.

HARRIS: Tyson, appreciate it. Thank you. Good stuff.

WHEATLEY: Take care, Tony.