Ellen DeGeneres recast in sealskin in artist's protest
A Newfoundland artist who was upset by U.S. comedian Ellen DeGeneres' support of an anti-sealing group has produced a portrait of the TV host, using only sealskin and fur.
Rodney Mercer carved DeGeneres' face in a dark black seal pelt, in protest of revelations that DeGeneres had a donation connected to her all-star Oscar-night selfie donated to the Humane Society of the United States.
"It was using her medium back at her and kind of putting a new face on the seal hunt, even though it's her face," Mercer said in an interview.
Samsung, which manufactured the phone that DeGeneres used during the Oscar broadcast, donated $3 million US to two charities of DeGeneres' choice: St. Jude's Children's Hospital and HSUS, which is one of the most visible opponents of Canada's seal hunt.
Mercer, who lives in Corner Brook, said he wanted to make a point about seal products.
"An objective was to show the true nature of the seal hunt, of what Canadians do," Mercer said.
Mercer said he did not make a portrait of DeGeneres out of spite, but rather of proud and personal connections he has to the sealing industry, primarily his childhood in the eastern Newfoundland community of Dildo.
"I remember as a child growing up to that wonderful smell of the seal plant just up the road from my house," he said.