Say Liberty. NYC, 9/11

A Timeless Message of Resistance

Color photography – Baryta Fine Art Paper – Size: 220 cm x 160 cm. Limited Edition.

This high-powered photograph was shot in New York City in August 2001. Originally part of a fashion series for the French magazine Twill, the striking Neo-Pop Statue of Liberty clearly stood out as a great cover for the magazine. A raised fist and a fierce defiant look, as a tribute to Black Power, embodied the city’s energy and fighting spirit. A perfect illustration of the struggles for diversity and color in the fashion business.

Unfortunately, it appears that the peculiar fate of this picture was to unveil something unintended, rather than its original purpose. Just a few weeks after the photoshoot, 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the world to its core. Gimeno’s image, now renamed “Say Liberty” took on a whole new meaning. Despite the chaotic situation, the magazine maintained its scheduled release date late September 2001. To everyone’s astonishment, the publication sold out globally within 24 hours of hitting the shelves, and immediately became a coveted collector’s item, including its featured photograph.

15 years later, “Color Manifesto” was created by Patrice Fuma Courtis and Karine Chane Yin, former executive team for Twill magazine, with the collaboration of FRAC (French Régional Contemporary Art Fund). The manifesto was showcased as a photographic retrospective at the Maison Bédier Museum in Reunion Island, France. The black statue of liberty reappeared as a key piece of the exhibition, in a monumental format. The artwork made a significant impact given the historical context of Reunion Island, where slavery was both inflicted and abolished.

Fast forward a few more years, the “Say Liberty” photograph has proven to be a timeless message of resistance that transcends generations. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, the image has once again gained traction on social media, in publications, and art galleries, inspiring a new wave of viewers to value the fights for equality and social justice.

Today, The epic photograph has gained increasing popularity and is highly sought-after, winning multiple awards; widely regarded as a contemporary masterpiece. Its enduring impact is a testament to Gimeno’s talent and the power of real photography as an art form.

© 2020 R.T – FMK Gallery, Kansas City