This ongoing portfolio of prints came to life in response to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the burgeoning “Me Too” movement. I was horrified by the display of blatant disregard for victims’ stories, and moved by the profound courage it took for women to come forward while risking their personal safety. These and other social issues around race, gender, sexual orientation and xenophobia compelled me to shift the focus of my work.
In March of 2018 (Women’s History Month) the New York Times introduced their “Overlooked” series, in which people who had previously been unrecognized by the New York Times Obituary Department (often women and minorities) were now having their exceptional stories shared. I found myself checking regularly for the newest addition, and in their stories, found the inspiration I was looking for. As time went on, I began seeking out brave women in history beyond “Overlooked”.
The process felt like a deep dive into the lives and legacies of these remarkable women. Though each followed a very different path, the common denominators were passion, courage, and commitment. Each story resonates with me. They have become my friends.
While working on the portraits, I sensed a need for some form of text to further illuminate the women’s stories. Thus began an enriching collaboration with a group of women poets, who continue to contribute poems to the project, inspired by the art and the life of each woman.
Julie Lapping Rivera
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