Hidden behind the front entrance stairs inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, four larger-than-life carvings of Barack Obama, his wife and two daughters, flash glossy wooden smiles.
Yesterday, the AGNS revealed sculptures Nova Scotian folk artist Bradford Naugler has carved of America’s first family, all done from provincial pine.
“He was the best man for the job,” Naugler said of President Obama. “He looked like he knew what he was doing and I didn’t think the other guy did.”
The bearded Naugler said he made Barack Obama first, then his wife Michelle, and then the couple’s two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
“I carved President Obama. But then I thought he’d be more comfortable with his family,” Naugler said after yesterday’s unveiling.
The four carvings, plus the family dog, Bo, took the artist three months to complete.
When Obama won the election last November, the historic nature of the moment inspired Naugler. The artist has also made models of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but Naugler said he would never carve former president George W. Bush.
“He doesn’t interest me,” the artist said bluntly. “If you don’t inspire me, I can’t carve you. I’ve got no interest.”
Gallery director and CEO Ray Cronin introduced the small crowd in attendance to Naugler’s art.
“There’s a long history of people coming from the United States to both help build this country, to come here as guests, to come here as tourists, to come here to eventually become Nova Scotians,” he said.