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"Rhinocerous woman 
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you're crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.

Hey, big woman -
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal -
I saw your light
and it was shining.

You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
they gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar 
and back it up with realness.

Rhinocerous woman, 
big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes 
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside. 

You read your bible
but god never came.
Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.

They hate you momma 
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty. 

They can see in your eyes 
a thousand nightmares
that they have made come true.

Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.

Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blood.

They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.

They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
behind yourself 
and wallowed in their shame.

Rhinocerous woman -
this world is blind 
and slight of mind
and cannot see 
how beautiful you are.

I saw your light.
And it was shining."

['Rhinoceros Woman', by Assata Shakur]

1: Captivation
1: Captivation

The first Rhinoceros Woman is unknown! Crazy? Pointless? Not really. I was greatly moved by this image; the depth and emotion that caught me off guard upon finding it. I saw such peace, but fierceness too. A soft kind of strength. I decided to draw her for fun, and was so impacted by the process and the emotion that came with the finished results that it inspired me to create the Rhinoceros Women series. Graphite and black powder pastel on 150 lb. illustration paper / 21.3" x 14.2" / 2015

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2: Rebellion
2: Rebellion

Alek Wek is a South Sudanese designer & model. Years ago, I set aside a photograph I found of Alek, swearing that some day I would attempt to draw her. When I created this project I immediately chose Alek as one of the women. For her beauty, yes, but more importantly for her lack of concern for societies standards; Alek has championed the standards of beauty. She's taught me confidence and self-acceptance. Graphite and black powder pastel on 150 lb. illustration paper / 23.5" x 17.7" / 2015

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3: Grace
3: Grace

Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani woman, actively fighting for education for girls. I admire Malala for her bravery, & grace she endlessly extends even to those who persecute her. Grace is a finicky thing, and how much more difficult it is to give grace to someone who has caused you harm? This is something so close to my heart due to personal experience. This woman is a fierce example of grace. Graphite, carbon, and black powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 18" x 24" / 2015

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4: Loyalty
4: Loyalty

Noriko Shinohara is another artist who knows the struggle! I so greatly admire her dedication to her work and her confidence to create persistently. Every day, even when I see others unfairly succeeding, I hope to consider Noriko and her commitment, her drive, and I hope continue to create. If there's something great I've learned as an artist so far, it's that you cannot stop. Graphite, carbon, and powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 18" x 18" / 2016

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5: Boldness
5: Boldness

I chose Dolores Huerta because she is a problem solver. There is always such a need for people willing to roll up their sleeves and take action when they see a problem, and Dolores is one to learn from. It is so incredibly important that we advocate for those unable to for themselves, especially when it is something we know personally. If you know the fight, and you're still here to say so, fight for someone else now. Graphite, powder pastel, and gouache on bristol paper / 22" x 22" / 2016

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6: Strength
6: Strength

Partnership piece with Lighthouse Voyage, an NPO currently working across India & Nepal to rescue trafficked women and to safely rehabilitate them back into society. #6 in this series is one face to represent the 640k women sex-trafficked internationally each year. My intent of this series is to bring global gender equality. For this reason, 30% of profits from this print will go to Lighthouse Voyage. Graphite, carbon, and black powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 18" x 24" / 2016

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7: Brilliant Joy
7: Brilliant Joy

This little lady is Ishne (pr: Snay-ha), she is certainly the most dear to my heart of the series. At age two, Ishne was brought to Light of Life Children's Home after being found naked and malnourished on the side of the road. In the past 2 yrs she has not only recovered, but thrives! Her tiny frame carries so much joy and zest for life! 50% of profits from this print will go directly to Light of Life. Graphite, carbon, and black powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 18" x 24" / 2015

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8: Rebellion
8: Rebellion

Wangari Maathai was a passionate and incredibly thoughtful Kenyan leader in nearly all areas, including woman's rights, *through* her better known platform for environmental rights. Most highly, I truly admire her lack of concern for cultures' idea of where her place was to be in society. This is what makes a great, great leader. Graphite, and black powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 15" x 17.3" / 2016

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9: Courage
9: Courage

Assata Shakur is a beautiful woman whose story has greatly helped to reshape my thinking. Right about when I decided to create a project of my drawings, I had just recently finished “The Autobiography of Assata Shakur”. Her poem, “Rhinoceros Woman”, inspired the name of the series. Graphite, and black powder pastel on 150 lb illustration paper / 23" x 15" / 2016

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10: Resiliency
10: Resiliency
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