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Artist Reimagines Iconic Black Women as Superheroes

Artist Reimagines Iconic Black Women as Superheroes

What happens when you take real heroes and merge them with Marvel and DC superheroes? That’s what artist Bart Cooper set out to explore after a conversation with a young adult showed him a disconnect between the past generation and our future leaders.


“I showed a 21 year old a photo and asked if they knew who the person was. They replied, ‘That’s that Underground Railroad lady,’” Cooper told Because of Them We can.  He went on to ask what “her” name was, but the answer escaped them. “I pointed to a logo and asked if they knew what the logo represented. Their response [was], ‘Everyone knows that. That’s the Superman logo!’”


That moment gave Cooper the idea to create the “Heroes” series featuring iconic Black women reimagined as fictional heroes younger audiences will recognize.


“This work and message is a powerful one, I want to create dialogue with [it]. Connect the older generation with the younger generation. So these icons’ message, story, and fight live on,” Cooper told Because of Them We Can.


The series includes paintings of Rosa Parks as Ironman, Nina Simone as Wonder Woman, Harriet Tubman as Superman, Winnie Mandela as Black Panther, Madam CJ Walker as Batman, Sojourner Truth as the Green Lantern, Angela Davis as The Punisher, Lucy Parsons as Magneto and Oprah Winfrey as Captain America. 


“History was my favorite subject in school. Comic books pushed me to draw as a child. This made researching and studying each person and selecting the perfect comic book hero to match even more interesting and fun. I had to study the person that matches their characteristics or some form of act that resembles each other.”


Although the goal is to create dialogue and opportunities for learning, Cooper is clear on how he views the women in the series.


“My heroes actually have real superpowers.”

When the "Heroes" series is finished, there will be a total of 10 women featured. Henrietta Lacks is the last women to be completed and we can't wait to see who Cooper will reimagine her as! 

To view more of Bart Cooper's work visit