From playing Black Panther or Jackie Robinson to James Brown or Thurgood Marshall, the legacy of actor Chadwick Boseman is etched forever in cinema history. Black American History too, as the late great artist took on the roles of some of Black America's most beloved and memorable icons.
In celebration of Boseman's life after his passing last year, Atlanta-based animator and 3D artist Andre Oshea took on the bold responsibility of honouring him at the most recent Oscars ceremony. Oshea, with past clients ranging from Adult Swim to Tidal, creates digital artwork that explores themes related to futurism, spirituality, new worlds and aesthetic journeys. For this new work, he was commissioned by the Oscars to pay tribute to Boseman via a digital NFT work that would be included in Oscar nominee gift bags.
The road to the latest design wasn't easy, however. The original work, Tribute: Chadwick in Gold, received some backlash over what some perceived as a "triggering reminder" of Boseman's life as opposed to a celebration of it.
With this additional perspective in mind, Oshea returned to the studio to create A Young Boy's Dream, a work that celebrates Boseman's legacy, walks the viewer through some of Boseman's most iconic accomplishments and visualises a timeline of some of his most notable life moments, including his wedding and his Howard University graduation. The redesign depicts a young black boy walking through a spiritual realm, ultimately inspired by Boseman's seminal role in Black Panther; each altar the boy passes is a tribute to a different accomplishment in Boseman's life.
"In this new tribute, I've always wanted to highlight the huge impact Chadwick's life has had on young black people everywhere," says Andre. "I wanted to create a world that is filled with wonder, legacy and soul – just like Chadwick was. It was massively important to me that the piece empower and educate on what we can do when we believe in our creative abilities. Chadwick has set an example for black creatives of all generations and we should carry his torch with us."
With half of the proceeds from a recent auction of said work pledged to fund the invaluable work of The Colon Cancer Foundation, Andre Oshea's work is yet another example of how art can be wielded to honour legacy, spark discussion, and make a difference in the world around us.