The Lives They Lived 2018

By February 6, 2019 No Comments

The New York Times Magazine produces an annual special edition entitled The Lives They Lived dedicated to the memory of public figures and other persons of interest who died within the year. The magazine commissioned several artists to portray six of the 29 persons featured in the December 30, 2018 issue. A portrait of Aretha Franklin, by Toylin Ojih Odutola, graced the cover. Odutola, a Nigerian artist living and working in New York, depicts the Queen of Soul in pen and ink. The artist told the NYT that Franklin’s “womanhood informed and inspired her process and was the catalyst for so many explorations in the world she created for herself.”

Austin native and collage artist, Deborah Roberts was commissioned to capture the late Linda Brown, lead plaintiff in the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Roberts employing her signature medium of collage that she uses to capture African American girls, depicts Brown as a young child. In the portrait, Brown, maintains a faint, gentle smile however her fists are noticeably large. Roberts told the Times, “in order to make her very powerful, I added two Muhammad Ali fists in front of her, because she and her family were really knocking down barriers at that time.”