Image courtesy: The Guardian

For the occasion of MTV’s 40th anniversary celebration, American artist Kehinde Wiley has reimagined the iconic VMA trophy into a statuette representing inclusivity and diversity. Wiley’s Moon Person is adorned with lovely pink flowers and luscious green vines, and “represents inclusivity and diversity marked by the historical, environmental and nature relevance of the botanicals,” as MTV told Rolling Stone. It was unveiled on Sunday, along with a life-sized replica inspired by it at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The updated trophy will be given to the winners at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.

                                      Image courtesy: Pitchfork

Talking about the new Moon Person design, MTV added:

“The design features botanical vines seamlessly flowing up and around the figure’s legs, body, and arms as a commentary on the ethnic histories that surround America. Each intertwined vine or leaf has a different historical relevance, such as the seeds from African slaves, that are woven into the American tapestry. The sculpture complements Wiley’s forthcoming series of portraits, in which he plans to create paintings featuring his subjects lying on their sides as vines encircle their bodies.”

It is quintessentially Wiley, who is famous for his nature-oriented portraits that typically features Black subjects in modern clothing against backdrops with intricate patterns.

In 2018, Wiley had created a presidential portrait of Barack Obama which is now showcased at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. He turned out to be the first Black American to paint an official portrait of a United States president when he rendered Barack Obama. Wiley’s paintings are well-known, and have included renderings of the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Ice T, and more.

 Image courtesy: The New Yorker

The 2021 MTV VMAs is scheduled to take place in front of a live audience on September 12 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.