A high school student’s painting of the Statue of Liberty wearing a hijab is drawing confused criticism from conservative activists who are upset by the image, but can’t seem to agree why.
The polemic painting, which hangs in the California office of Democratic Rep. Luis Correa, is a finalist in this year’s Congressional Art Competition, which features artwork by high school students from across the country. Rep. Correa told The Washington Post that the Statue of Liberty painting displayed in his office suggests the young artist, who has not been identified for security reasons, “is trying very hard to be part of America.”
But critics seem to be having a hard time seeing past the hijab, and want the unnamed painting removed.
Some think the young artist is being unfair to the United States.
“If the aim is to say we should be more embracing, indeed we are the most embracing country on the face of the earth over hundreds of years now,” writes the Young Conservatives blog. “Muslim countries not so much. Not embracing of Israelis, of any displays of liberty, and especially a problem, women’s liberty.”
Other self-styled art critics are upset because they think Lady Liberty appears to be crying in the painting.
Meanwhile, the conservative group We the People Rising argues that the painting’s display in the congressman’s office represents “an unpatriotic violation of the separation of church and state,” according to a report in The Orange County Register.
Even Sarah Palin is having feelings about the painting that she can’t quite articulate.
But for now, Congressman Correa says he has no plans to take the painting off his wall.