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Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur

Feda Taha

Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur

My name is Feda Taha and the title of my project is Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur. My project is an acrylic painting. When I first read Assata: An Autobiography, I was so moved by her resilience and strength, but frustrated because of the struggles she faced. Originally, my painting was going to be of Assata when she was younger, perhaps less colorful, and more focused on the Black liberation struggle and resistance. After watching the 1977 documentary Eyes of the Rainbow, it was so beautiful to see Assata in a post-carceral setting, free in Cuba. Her autobiography does not really discuss her escape from prison or life after. Throughout the documentary, she was glowing and her words emulated light and resistance. I had to find a way to capture her glow, so I chose a photo of her smiling to paint. I believe the path to liberation is one of struggle, but joy is a radical thing. My painting of Assata depicts strength and joy.

To supplement my painting, I also interviewed classmate and comrade Asha Edwards. Asha is an organizer with Assata’s Daughters, a grassroots collective of radical Black women in Chicago. Asha is so well spoken and her words are powerful. She spoke on the importance of collectivism, conflict resolution, and abolition. Her favorite quote from Assata is, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” “Assata emboldens us to disrupt the status quo in a way that targets our enemy… she is a radical essence of who I want to be.” -Asha Edwards

 

Image description: The portrait is a posterized acrylic painting on canvas of Assata Shakur. She is smiling, looking forward. Her hair is in dark, long locs. The style of the painting has several dark and nude tones. She is wearing a white shirt, with lavender stripes. The background is bright red. In white print, the background text says ‘“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.’ -Assata Shakur”