6 Sep 2016

No doormat: Labour leader reacts to risqué rug art

9:06 pm on 6 September 2016

Labour leader Andrew Little says he's no doormat after a rug depicting a "flattering" naked version of him was named a finalist at the 25th Annual Wallace Art Awards.

Whanganui artist Mark Rayner's Wallace Art Award-nominated rug depiction of Labour leader Andrew Little.

Whanganui artist Mark Rayner's Wallace Art Award-nominated rug depiction of Labour leader Andrew Little. Photo: Supplied

The artist behind the work, Whanganui's Mark Rayner, told Checkpoint with John Campbell that it was a play on words, inspired by a similar piece featuring Prime Minister John Key.

He wasn't the first to create works based on naked depictions of world leaders, he said.

"I've seen several pictures of Trump and Putin - there's a very sort of a fad, almost, of portraying these several masculine men in this way.

"It was meant in jest, it's a humorous play on words and I just hope that the art work - [we didn't] set out to offend him in any way, nor was the John Key rug which I previously made."

He said the image was put together first, then turned into a pattern that could be created as a rug.

'No photos were provided'

Mr Little said he played no part in the work's creation.

"There was no pose, no photos were provided, no sketch drawings were given - it was a calculated guess on the part of the artist."

Mr Key said he had also personally never posed for "rug art".

"Nor do I wish to purchase any that might be for sale at the moment."

He still had not quite got over having seen the image, he said.

"Polluted my eyes when I had to look at it last night."

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