January 18th, 2017 / posted by paularath
My own Medium White Tee., #76/out of 1000.

My own Medium White Tee., #76 out of 1000. 76 is a significant number to me because my father worked for Union 76 Oil Company for 35 years.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I have tremendous respect and admiration for President Obama. His intelligence, depth, thoughtfulness, sense of humor, dignity, authenticity and, well, his CHARACTER, are all exemplary. The United States has benefited in so many ways by having him at our helm.

It’s utterly appalling to me that the man who will now move into the White House is petty, shallow, thin-skinned, dishonest, undignified, phony and totally lacking in character. How can this be happening?

Since November 9, I have been a homebody. It’s hard for me to leave the house. Like so many other Americans, I just want this nightmarish reality, played out on Twitter for God’s sake, to disappear.

A place where I could write a message to President Obama, knowing that it will be delivered to him.

A place where I could write a message to President Obama, knowing that it will be delivered to him by his sister this week.

 

Where can I go to be surrounded by the goodness of Barack Obama and all that he stands for? How can I honor him in some small way? I wish I were going to Washington to join the March, but we leave for Europe on Monday, and all our travel plans are pretty much cemented, so the timing simply doesn’t work.

However, thanks to the Honolulu Museum of Art, Ward Centre and the artist Emily Spivack, I know a little place where I can feel surrounded by the love of good people who share my feelings about President Obama. It’s a comfort.

Medium White Tee sand bar

Medium White Tee Shirt is a pop-up off-site art installation in Ward Centre. It will be open Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. in Ward Centre, between Red Pineapple and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Created by Brooklyn-based artist Emily Spivack, it is designed to be a place for contemplation, a place to consider all that President Obama did for us. The artist calls it “A tribute to President Obama’s accomplishments and to the decisions he didn’t run from and ultimately it’s a thank-you.”

It’s also a place where you can buy a Medium White Tee Shirt, made in the USA of course, for $44, in honor of our 44th President.

Spivack came up with the idea while reading a story in the New York Times that had also caught my attention and stayed with me. In the story, it mentioned President Obama and his then Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel were fantasizing about what they might do after their time in the White House. They talked about moving to Hawaii to open a tee shirt shack that sold only one size (medium) and one color (white).  It would mean never having to make another decision.

Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama's sister, joined artist Emily Spivack at the podium during the media introduction for Medium White Tee.

Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama’s sister, joined artist Emily Spivack at the podium during the media introduction for Medium White Tee.

The first of the limited edition (capped at 1,000) Medium White Tees was given to President Obama by his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, at Christmas. I bought #76 and there are still plenty more at the Ward Centre pop-up.

Please go and buy one. And I would love it if you give it your own treatment – paint it, dye it, cut strategic pukas in it, applique it, write a message on it, embroider it, whatever strikes your fancy – and send me a photo to publish in this blog.

While you’re there, take a few moments to sit in a beach chair and think about all that President Obama and his exemplary family have done for the United States of America. It really may help you get through the god-awful prospect we face on Friday.

– Paula Rath

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