Nude Stephen Harper Portrait: Canadian Prime Minister Seen Naked with Dog in Artist’s Depiction

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | December 3, 2013 12:33 PM EST

If you ever had any wild fantasy about seeing Canadian Prime Minister without any clothes, this is probably the best chance you have to fulfil it.

The imagination is put into life by Margaret Sutherland, an artist based in Kingston. She created a naked portrait of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many Canadian media (like Vancouver based Web site Straight.com) appear to find it absolutely 'awesome.' The 2011 portrait is grabbed all the attention at a gallery in Ottawa last week.

Don Monet, who is a well-known artist himself, put together the gallery which was entirely dedicated to different artistic depiction of the Canadian prime minister. Ms Sutherland defended her nude depiction of Mr Harper to Ottawa Citizen which did a preview of the exhibit. Mr Harper is seen in a reclining position with a pet dog. The backdrop shows a number of attendants whose faces are not shown. One of them is offering him Tim Horton's coffee.

Ms Sutherland defended her work saying that the portrait called 'Emperor Haute Couture' is far beyond the apparent 'titillation' involved in it. One must look at the metaphors involved in the artistic depiction to appreciate it in a much refined manner. She mentions that the 'headless lackeys' in the backdrop have a lot in common with the Hans Christian Andersen parable.

'Emperor Haute Couture' was one of the 14 artistic depictions of Mr Harper at the gallery. Artist Tony Clark made a portrait of Mr Harper which showed his face on Napoleon's body sitting on a throne. He is royally dressed in gold and red. There are dead fish and birds at Mr Harper's feet. There are oil sands behind him. According to the artist, it symbolises the 'environmental devastation' of Mr Prime Minister.

Mr Monet explained that the artistic expressions had much deeper significance than merely having an 'all-out attack' on Mr Harper. Instead of maligning the Canadian Prime Minister, the portraits try to do a psycho-analysis of his character, he said. Mr Monet also informed that he had rejected many other portraits which, he thought, were only meant for attacking the prime minister out of sheer anger.

The arts community in Ottawa has started opposing Mr Harper after he had decided to wrap up the proposed National Portrait Gallery in Ottawa.

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