In his early days as an artist Shepard Fairey mostly focused on images that were meant to provoke the viewer and challenge our view of the world, especially mass consumerism and political apathy. Images were conceptual and provocative, and the few portraits were dictators.
The first woman portrait is Angela Davis, in 1998. Titled Power and Equality, it is the beginning of a long series of portraits of women that inspire instead of provoking. The next portrait is Catswindle Woman, in 2002, also ushering in a long series of rock’n roll inspired portraits. Stay Up Girl in 2004 is the first portrait of an anonymous woman, but still more in a mock advertising style. In 2006 Arab Woman, a statement against post-9/11 islamaphobia, is the first portrait depicting an actual anonymous woman full of beauty and dignity, drawing on the more universal themes of peace, respect, and unity embodied by women. From then on portraits of women flourished, and many of Shepard Fairey’s images of women have become emblematic and have been the face of major movements, such as the Woman’s March of 2017 in Washington, DC.
In honor of International Women’s Day we are happy and proud to present a selection of some of Shepard Fairey’s most beautiful portraits of women that show the beauty, strength, resilience, and humanity of women.
International Women’s Day - March 8