“Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian” by Michael Richards

Submitted by:


Artist Michael Richards created “Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian” in 1999 to commemorate the experience of the Tuskegee Airmen. Small aircraft, signifying the arrows shot at martyr St. Sebastian, penetrate the gold-plated Airman in homage to the intolerance and unfairness they suffered. The sculpture was cast from the artist’s own body.

Richards’ portfolio of work had challenged oppression and addressed issues of social injustice, and was deeply inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen. For more, see his amazing sculpture “Are You Down?”

Richards was working in his studio in Tower One on September 11, 2001, his life tragically cut short. “Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian” was feared lost in the attack, but was fortunately recovered at the home of a relative after his death.

The artwork currently resides in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Modern and Contemporary Gallery.