• 12.11.09

Obama Burned in Effigy by Chinese Artist … in a Good Way

Liu Bolin set ablaze a bronze bust of the President of the United States in honor of Obama’s visit to China. But will the positive message of “Burning Man Obama” be lost in translation?

Obama Burned in Effigy by Chinese Artist … in a Good Way
burning obama

At first glance, this burning bust of Barack Obama seems like an affront against the president, much in the same way that some consider burning the flag a threat against the U.S. But Chinese artist Liu Bolin claims his bronze bust, built in honor of Obama’s visit to China, is actually a celebration of the president.


According to Bolin, the “Burning Man Obama” bust represents the fiery energy that the president holds, claiming “this piece represents energy and life that Obama has given to the
world. We’re eager to see what he can do for China and U.S. relations.” But while Bolun may claim that his sculpture is a positive thing, we wonder if there is actually a deeper, darker meaning. Even if there isn’t, the bust is virtually guaranteed to ignite a firestorm of controversy.

liu bolin

Or maybe the whole thing is just a publicity stunt. Bolin is known for his mind-bending invisible man paintings, which feature the artist literally disappearing into his scenes.

What do you think of “Burning Man Obama”? Let us know in the comments.


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.