“Shoulders Of Giants” Artist Shines Light On Heroes Of LGBTQ History By Pairing Portraits With Letters Of Thanks To Benefit The National LGBTQ Task Force
British artist, Rachel Wilkins, debuts a new series of work entitled ‘Shoulders of Giants.’
The 30-piece (one for each day of Pride month) multi-media body of work is an homage to the advocates, change-makers, and unsung heroes, whose tireless efforts helped to bring about social and political progress for LGBTQ people. 50% of the sales of this 30 painting series will benefit the National LGBTQ Task-force.
The series of work features big hitters, Edie Windsor, Marsha P. Johnson and Harvey Milk but also chronicles the lesser-known voices such as Michael Dillon, the first trans man to medically transition, and Barbara Gittings, a prominent activist for LGBTQ rights in New York. Wilkins creates intuitive and thoughtful abstracts using industrial materials such as household paint and masking tape. Layering mixed-media iconography atop of the painting, she presents her subject matters standing proud within a world that conveys the weight of their contribution to time and history. Each portrait is paired with a personal letter of thanks from a member of the LGBTQ community that expresses their gratitude and documents how they were personally affected by their hero’s contribution.
“I had this yearning for a deeper understanding of what came before. What, or who enabled me to live my life so freely today as an out gay woman. As my research unfolded I came to understand that there was a great deal of diversity and intersectionality represented among those that fought to push us forward. Voices and faces that were new to me. I felt both a moral and creative responsibility to get to know them and to honor them. “ – Rachel Wilkins
Wilkins is originally from the UK and now resides in northern New Jersey with her wife. It was the global pandemic that brought her back to the studio and led her to create this particular body of work.
“We have this unique moment in time where we cannot be together physically but thanks to digital media we now have the power to reach people who may otherwise never have had the opportunity, or means, to travel to a big city PRIDE parade. I thought long and hard about how art can capture a moment in time and give hope. It is my intention that through this series we can preserve the memory of such powerful LGBTQ voices for generations to come.
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