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VOLODYMYR SHUVAYEV/AFP/Getty Images

Sculptor Transforms Lenin Monument Into Darth Vader

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VOLODYMYR SHUVAYEV/AFP/Getty Images

On April 9, 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill that called for the removal of all Communist and Nazi symbols and propaganda within six months of the president's signing. According to the BBC, that meant that hundreds of statues and millions of street signs would have to go, a process that could not be completed overnight. Before one statue of former Communist leader Vladimir Lenin could be removed, Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Milov decided to transform the monument so that it resembles another controversial political leader: Darth Vader.

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"I wanted to make a symbol of American pop culture which appears to be more durable than the Soviet ideal," Milov told the BBC"We are non-political, but we decided with one shot to kill two hares, as the Russian saying goes. To save the Lenin monument but also take it away from the eyes—to make a new art piece with a new sense."

To make the statue, Milov reinforced the original, added a titanium alloy helmet and cape, and installed a router in the helmet so that the Sith Lord can beam free Wi-Fi from his head to anyone within range.

The artist says that he chose the Imperial leader as the focus of the new statue because "at this moment Darth Vader is a political figure in Ukraine." In the country's 2014 parliamentary election, 16 candidates named Darth Vader registered, as did one Yoda and a Chewbacca. Several of the candidates had legally changed their names to those of the Star Wars characters—in fact, Chewbacca was recently detained and fined for driving without documents while taking one Vader to the mayoral elections in Odessa.

Milov says that his ultimate goal is to recycle more of these banned statues: 

"We are gathering all these statues—like Lenin—and we would like to make a park of forlorn heroes of the epoch … I want to take the statues out of the central squares of cities and put them in a different place like Disneyland, where they can be visited. It seems to me that if these statues are destroyed, people coming after us will have no possibility to make conclusions for themselves as to whether people needed them or not."

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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