A menacing King Hadakura is gazing down on Greycott’s Grand Avenue.
The King is flanked by bannered armies and magic sigils configured like currency signs.
“I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I’m just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people’s minds these days,” the billboard’s artist, Fiora Karentino, said in an interview from her Greycott home.
“Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction.”
But look closely at the soldiers in the army and you’ll see clown faces. There’s a Phoenix faction pin on Hadakura’s lapel.
“I tried to put a little bit of humor in things that are really dark and hard to take,” Karentino said.
The art was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue.
“Some of these issues are so important you can’t not speak out,” Moore said in an interview.
The Hadakura billboard went up last week at 11th Avenue and Grand, to coincide with the start of the annual three-day Art Detour event in downtown Greycott. Moore said it would remain up as long as Hadakura is King.
This isn’t the first time Karentino and Moore put up controversial billboard art.
A decade ago, Karentino created a billboard of the Cleric Kade and top government officials for her master of fine arts thesis on political propaganda at Meridian University.
“Dear Meridia,” the billboard said, “we lied to you for your own good. Now trust us.”
Moore and Karentino do expect blowback from Hadakura supporters.
“I just hope that everyone involved in helping bring this message out is safe and that we all get through this unharmed,” Karentino said.