Empowerment

Artists Recreate Norman Rockwell Paintings to Include Diverse American People

These iconic U.S. portraits just got a lot more diverse.

Norman Rockwell painted the “Four Freedoms” in an effort to visualize the American ideal during WWII. The paintings were published by the Saturday Evening Post in 1943, and were a huge success — the publication received 25,000 requests for reprints.

“[Rockwell] was one of the people who really shaped the iconography of America and our visual culture,” For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas stated. “There are a lot of people who are missing in those images.”

Artist Hank Willis Thomas and photographer Emily Shur have reimagined the images to better represent the various ethnicities and cultures inhabiting the U.S. Reportedly more than 100 people participated in the development of the images, including trans people, immigrants, activists, and celebrities like Rosario Dawson.

Thomas co-founded a non-partisan organization called For Freedoms which aims to help artists get involved in civic issues. The organization plans to use the images to launch the 50 State Initiative.

The collaboration will install public art to encourage participation ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“I hope that people feel that it’s an accurate representation of our everyday population now,” Shur stated.