Fri, Mar 31, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Spears-inspired `pro-life' sculpture stirs blog debate

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

A handout photo released on Wednesday shows Daniel Edwards' sculpture Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, which depicts US singer Britney Spears giving birth to her son.

PHOTO: EPA

Britney Spears is probably not the likeliest muse for a work of art promoting an anti-abortion message. Yet hard as it may be to imagine her inspiring such meditations, it is no stretch at all to imagine that a gallery show including a politically tinged likeness of Spears is apt to draw a bit of attention.

That appears to be the strategy, anyway, behind a life-size clay sculpture by a 40-year-old Connecticut artist, Daniel Edwards, that depicts Spears giving birth.

The sculpture titled, Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, depicts Spears on her knees and elbows giving birth atop a bearskin rug.

It will be shown publicly at an exhibition that is opening next Friday at Capla Kesting Fine Art gallery in Brooklyn.

When asked how he chose Spears as his subject from among the thousands of women who give birth each day, Edwards said: She's the highest profile. She was the best choice. I couldn't come up with anybody that matched her.

The clay sculpture is meant to represent the day last September when Spears gave birth to her son, Sean Preston Federline.

For the last week or so, blog-gers have been weighing in on the sculpture, with comments ranging from disapproval to disbelief, with some calling it all a publicity ploy.

An anti-abortion group whose literature will be included at the opening has backed away from the work, and the gallery holding the opening has been flooded with messages, pro and con, remarking on the sculpture.

Edwards said he did not speak with Spears before creating the sculpture. Leslie Sloan Zelnik, a spokeswoman for Spears, did not return a call on Wednesday seeking comment.

Edwards resisted characterizing himself as anti-abortion, but said he believed that life began "at conception."

The sculptor said that the image of Spears giving birth was a beautiful way to present the anti-abortion message, in contrast to the grisly images like fetuses in jars that are sometimes used by anti-abortion groups.

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