“Patron Saint of the Gulf,” which features Lady Gaga, is inspired by the blend of animal rights sentiment often displayed in the outlandish fashion worn by the illustrious performer, and the flagrancy of the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
Lady Gaga, with the British Petroleum corporate logo at her feet, is depicted as a nude modern-day Saint Francis of Assisi as she embraces ailing octopi limply draping her outstretched arms, while gently caressing a pair of irate-looking frogs. Tangled in her trademark hair-bow is a globule-covered pelican struggling to fly away and saturated in BP crude oil collected by Edwards during his visit to the Louisiana Gulf.
“The comparisons between Lady Gaga and Saint Francis can be uncanny,” said Edwards’s publicist Cory Allen. “Lady Gaga is often seen depicted with animal imagery, much like Saint Francis, the son of a wealthy fashion merchant, who was also known for his fondness of flamboyant apparel.”
“We’d like to send another version of the sculpture to BP America headquarters in Houston as a trophy to assist them in dressing up their hall of shame,” added Cory Allen about the oil-slickened statuette.
“The artistic record should amply reflect the magnitude of threat to Gulf wildlife brought on by the BP oil spill,” said artist Daniel Edwards. “This is my contribution.”
While in Louisiana, Edwards also collected various specimens of wildlife stricken by oil to bring back to his Connecticut studio for study. “Seeing the dead wildlife arranged in a pile in the middle of my studio deepened my sorrow - which quickly turned to disgust,” said Edwards. “My studio still smells like petroleum and rotted meat.”
The sculpture by Edwards has been digitally scanned by engineering professor Mark Vesligaj of Quinebaug Valley Community College to create some permanence for its contribution to the artistic record in the virtual world.