Artist turns Obama’s dream T-shirt shack into reality

A new art installation and pop-up shop at Ward Centre turns the president’s longtime dream into reality.

New York artist Emily Spivack created Medium White Tee after reading a “New York Times” article about President Obama.

It said Obama and his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, dreamed of moving to Hawaii and opening up a T-shirt shack that sold only one size and one color, so they would no longer have to make decisions.

“Medium White Tee is a tribute to his accomplishments, to the decisions he didn’t run from. Ultimately, it’s a thank you,” said Spivack. “I hope the space serves as a place for contemplation, to meditate on the very significant role that decision-making should play with any president, past, present, or future. Medium White Tee is a place to consider the decisions we make every day, big or small.”

Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, attended the installation’s opening.

“I know he would appreciate and enjoy this very much, and it’s too bad that he can’t come and volunteer himself,” Soetoro-Ng said. “I think this is a fitting tribute and beautiful way to close up and round out the presidency.”

Soetoro-Ng said their mother would have also enjoyed the exhibit.

“For her, handicraft and material goods were valuable, important, not because of their inherent monetary value, but because of the stories behind them and the people who make them, and because of the people who contributed powerful narratives of feeling to those objects,” she said.

The installation will sell medium white T-shirts for $44, a nod to the 44th presidency.

Proceeds will benefit the youth-based get-out-the-vote program the Bus Federation Civic Fund and the community food and education non-profit Mao Organic Farms.

Medium White Tee will be open Thursdays through Sundays, noon-6 p.m., through Feb. 9.

Click here for more information.

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