leon-reid-true-yank-urbisYesterday an Abe Lincoln statue in Manchester, UK got some fresh new gear: a couple four finger rings, an oversized Union nameplate, gold chains and a flat brimmed Yankees cap. Despite the date, April 1st, this was no prank but the work of Brooklyn’s own Leon Reid, an artist specializing in reworking public space for more than a decade. Reid was commissioned by the Urbis Museum to produce “True Yank” in connection with a new exhibition, “State of the Art: New York“.

Of the Presidential makeover, Reid says, “Homeboy needed it … He now has some bling to accompany his rock hard pose.” Joking aside, Reid hopes people will question Lincoln’s identity and significance to African Americans. Of course, not everyone will though.

The Manchester Evening News found Sam Clough, a nearby sandwich artist, who complains “they’ve turned it into some kind of African gangster statue,” which he finds both “daft” and “insulting.”

Below are a couple of the artist’s sketches to see how the concept became reality.



Images from Leon Reid.