An inauguration edition: Edel Rodriguez’s “Resurrection”
Tomorrow’s a new day for democracy, and there’s no artist better suited to commemorate the moment than Edel Rodriguez. This is Resurrection, a poignant, powerful, hopeful print starring Lady Liberty and a torch of love, radiating red-white-and-blue. This new release ties back to Rodriguez’s first 20x200 edition, but it’s also a response to the recent, violent riots at our capital, and an impassioned plea for our country’s future. We’re turning to this image’s transformative spirit while we wait anxiously for our 46th president to be sworn in, visualize a safe, celebratory inauguration, and vow to keep up the work necessary to practice compassion and advance equality going forward.
Rodriguez chose the title Resurrection “as a counter to insurrection and a follow-up to Resist.,” to represent the dawning of “a new America,” he says. When our founder introduced Resist. back in March 2017, in the disorienting early days of Trump’s presidency, she described Rodriguez’s remarkable ability to tackle the topical with grit and eye-catching clarity. In Resist., he conveys the imperative to not just endure, but dig deeper, to act to protect ourselves and others from an orange deluge of injustice. With Biden and Harris commencing their term tomorrow, Rodriguez “wanted to create an image that represented America's emergence from one of its darkest periods in history.” Resurrection was born, calling on Lady Liberty once again, arming her not with an umbrella, but a beacon emanating love. In place of her eternal fire, hypnotic hearts in the colors of our flag reach ever-wider. That love, the artwork seems to say, is the restorative force that’ll see us back on our way to freedom, integrity, equity, and power in the hands of the people.
Since her debut well over a century ago, the Statue of Liberty has become an icon of freedom, democracy and justice. With New York City as her backdrop, the Mother of Exiles has welcomed millions of immigrants and refugees to America, a torch-bearing embodiment of hope, opportunity, and enlightenment. In many ways, she’s seen as a symbol of the United States itself—or at least, the US at its best. A Cuban-American immigrant, Rodriguez regards the statue with special significance. He also has a gift for rendering her in all her glory, compelling without being caricatured, his go-to distressing technique lending the saturated colors some humanizing texture.
Rodriguez's award-winning work regularly appears in publications like The New York Times, Der Spiegel and TIME magazine. Just last week, our New Yorker magazines arrived with this arresting cover, following the horrific insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th. In Rodriguez’s artwork, the American flag flies at half mast, DC’s landmarks silhouetted in the distance. The stark, somber image has both a sense of tragedy, and an air of resilience. In a Washington Post piece about the cover, the artist explains how the attempted coup affected him personally, on a particularly visceral level. “To an immigrant like myself, America is a dream … It is a dream that one struggles and perseveres to attain. These actions by the president and his supporters shatter that dream.” In visually processing those actions, Rodriguez’s art reminds us what we have to fight for.
As Rodriguez puts it, “A period of darkness is now hopefully behind us, and a brighter future is ahead.” This is an optimistic moment, one memorialized in Resurrection’s vivid, impactful vibrations. It’s also a time of reflection. When he accepted the Statue of Liberty on behalf of the US in 1886, President Grover Cleveland said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected." Let’s take this moment to celebrate, but also to recommit ourselves to radical love—the only real route to liberty and justice for all.
With art for everyone,