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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine.
     

    Last month, after the Muhammad Ali International Airport unveiled its logo, Louisville Magazine co-hosted an event with the Muhammad Ali Center about how the airport can live up to its name. With that in mind, we commissioned these five local artists to create work they’d like to see at SDF. Yes, the airport code remains the same (thanks to Alice International Airport, east of Corpus Christi, Texas), but locals might as well start referring to it as A-L-I.

    Interviews by Nikayla Edmondson

     

    ARIELLE BIDDIX
    AKA Rosewood Lane

    “I primarily work with collecting, refurbishing and customizing old vintage wear. For this project, I went on social media and was like, ‘Hey, guys, I’m taking jean jacket donations.’ I received a surplus of donations and it made me feel the biggest amount of support. Ali was cocky, he was out there. I’ve always been a rebellious entity. The denim jacket was my canvas.”


    Arielle Biddix's Muhammad Ali jacket. Photo by Kenneth Semien Jr. (aka Realkenny's).


    Photos taken at Technical Boxing Gym by Kenneth Semien Jr. (aka Realkenny's).

    ______________________________________________

    DOUGLAS MILLER

    “My first thought was to do a traditional two-dimensional drawing. But he was an active person — not only as a boxer but in his community and in the political discourse — so I did a butterfly-to-bee animated drawing. One thing I thought about in an odd way was that I didn’t want him hitting another person. I wanted to just have him moving and doing the shadow boxing. I’m a Muhammad Ali fan, so I may geek out on you, but what I really love about the way he fought was that he was sort of a passive boxer. The way he avoided punches was one of his biggest strengths.”

    ______________________________________________

    VICTOR SWEATT

    “The painting tells the Champ’s worldwide journey, from Louisville’s West End to becoming a global humanitarian.”


    Victor Sweatt's painting.

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    JULIO CESAR RODRIGUEZ AGUILAR

    “I chose to paint him when he was young because when we’re young we have a lot of dreams and they’re more fresh. The cardinal bird is a symbol of Louisville, and he represented Louisville, Kentucky, every time he made a fist. I tried to put myself, my family and the Cuban people in it. We feel welcome in Ali’s city.”


    Julio Cesar Rodriguez Aguilar's painting.

    ______________________________________________

    LAURIE BLAYNEY

    “I call it ‘digital mixed media.’ A lot of time Ali is portrayed as young. But he lived a long life, and I wanted to portray him as older. And I wanted to show what I remembered him most for: his supreme confidence.”


    Laurie Blayney's print.

     

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

    To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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