Artist and programmer Nick Rindo, whose medium of choice is various plant seeds, created a portrait of accused sexual predator Bill Cosby out of canola seeds and submitted it to the Minnesota State Fair. But it didn’t take the fair organizers long to realize that the rape portrait had not fallen far from the rape plant.
In an attempt to make sure everyone who saw his piece got the joke, Rindo listed the medium as “canola seed (rapeseed).”
The Fair taped over the parenthetical reference before accepting the work—because crop art superintendent Ron Kelsey reasoned “we call everything canola in this country”—and then took it down from the Agriculture Horticulture Building altogether.
Do we call everything canola in this country, though? Nay. The name “canola” is a Canadian invention.
Despite attempts by our polite northern neighbors to claim due credit for breeding the rape plant (and uncouple it from its unsavory homonym) by branding it with a portmanteau of “Canada Oil,” the plant that produces the oil is not commonly called “canola” anywhere. It is called “rape.”
Kelsey said he had to take the artwork down after receiving several email complaints from people who weren’t comfortable with its subject matter.