The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) made the decision to remove a portrait of Elvis – designed by artist Tommy Kha – but they have now reverted on this decision following an outcry on social media, calling for the painting to be reinstated. Fox 13 Memphis claimed that the work is being re-installed, following the backlash. Scott Brockman, President & CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority issued a statement as a way of apologising for the action.
“Over the past 24 hours, we have heard from many in our community regarding the temporary removal of Tommy Kha’s artwork in the new concourse. The Airport Authority appreciates the support that the community has shown for Tommy and we have made the decision to reinstall the artwork. We apologise to Tommy for the effect that this ordeal has had on him.”
Kha wrote his opinion on an Instagram post, dated Monday, March 21st. He claims he was the only artist whose work was taken down. The picture is a self-portrait, detailing Kha in a jumpsuit a la Presley in Aloha From Hawaii. Kha says he feels part of the community of artists that either dress up as, or impersonate, Elvis Presley.
Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, clarified his thoughts, stating that he was open to commissioning another piece of art from Kha. In a written statement, Brockman suggested that the general public misinterpreted Kha’s intentions, leading the authorities to take the painting down, while they worked out the next step forward with their operation.
In other Elvis Presley related news, director Baz Lurhmann is about to release his film about the singer. The finished work features Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and stars Austin Butler as ‘The King’. One Direction star Harry Styles was considered for the role of Elvis Presley, as was Ansel Elgort, but ultimately felt Butler represented the director’s vision best.
The film is Lurhmann’s sixth feature, a catalogue that boasts appearances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman. This is the first time Lurhmann has focused on a rock icon during his career.