Fearless Portraits

Presenting Fearless Portraits, stories of women leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. Some of them are well-known, some are obscure, all of them worked to make a difference in the world. In each episode, you’ll learn the story of an amazing changemaker in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. Fearless Portraits is hosted by Dan Landau, a New Jersey-based visual artist who repurposes maps and other items with ink drawings and intricate papercutting to create portraits of people and things.

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Tuesday May 03, 2022

“I classify my research as where equity meets science. The people who are really going to need [smart sutures] will not be able to afford them. So, I decided to make something cost-effective.”
Dasia Taylor
The artwork
Dasia Taylor’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait Project consists of an ink drawing on a map of Iowa. Her hometown of Iowa City is located on the right side, where her neck meets her shoulder.
The story: 
When 17-year-old Dasia Taylor heard about smart sutures—which use electrical currents and smart phone connections to monitor wound infections—she was intrigued, but she also saw a problem: the people who would need these the most would have the lowest access to them. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 2-4% of sutured wounds become infected in the US. That number rises to 10-20% in some developing countries, where digital access also drops. 
Taylor saw an opportunity to bring equity to this situation and set to work developing a low-tech solution to improving health outcomes. And she wasn’t going to let something like not having participated in a science fair since first grade hold her back. She began researching the problem of wound infection with her chemistry teacher at Iowa City West High School in the fall of 2019.
While healthy human skin has an acidic pH of about 5, infected skin reaches pH 9. After juicing dozens of beets, Taylor discovered beet juice changes color from red to purple at the same pH level as infected skin. 
After experimenting with different threads, Taylor found a cotton/polyester blend worked the best. When treated with the beet dye, the thread would change color in five minutes when in the presence of an infection.
The goal of this color-changing thread is for patients to self-monitor themselves and know when to seek medical attention.  
She began entering her work into science fairs and quickly began racking up prizes, even becoming a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. The annual talent search is one of the most prestigious science contests for high school students. 
Taylor says she’s patenting her invention and looking to set up lab space to continue her research before starting college, where she plans to study political science and become a lawyer. 
“I have to continue my research. These stitches literally will revolutionize wound treatment in developing countries,” she says. “I'm definitely not stopping until my stitches get to those who need them.”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Anton Vlasov. 
Firozi, P. (2021, April 1). A high-schooler wanted infection-detecting sutures to be more accessible. She used beets. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/04/01/high-schooler-wanted-infection-detecting-sutures-be-more-accessible-she-used-beets/ 
Inside Edition. (2021, April 1). An Iowa High School Student Invented a Cost-Effective Way to Detect Infections in Surgical Patients. https://www.insideedition.com/an-iowa-high-school-student-invented-a-cost-effective-way-to-detect-infections-in-surgical-patients 
Kantor, W. G. (2021, May 14). Iowa Teen Inspired by Grey’s Anatomy Invents Stitches That Change Color When Wound Is Infected. PEOPLE.Com. https://people.com/human-interest/iowa-teen-inspired-by-greys-anatomy-invents-stitches-that-change-color-when-infected/ 
Krupa, A. C. H. A. M. (2021, April 17). A student harnessed the power of beets to make healing from surgery safer -- and more equitable. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/17/us/student-beets-color-changing-sutures-wellness-trnd/index.html 
Local 4 News WHBF. (2021, February 18). In Our Community | Dasia Taylor. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ercvAKNrSVk 
Machemer, T. (2021, March 25). This High Schooler Invented Color-Changing Sutures to Detect Infection. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/high-schooler-invented-color-changing-sutures-detect-infection-180977345/ 
Muzdakis, M. (2021, April 6). High School Senior Creates Color Changing Surgical Sutures That Alert Infection. My Modern Met. https://mymodernmet.com/dasia-taylor-beet-surgical-sutures/ 
Schilke, R. (2021, February 1). West High senior Dasia Taylor recognized as Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist. The Daily Iowan. https://dailyiowan.com/2021/01/31/west-high-senior-dasia-taylor-recognized-as-regeneron-science-talent-search-finalist/ 
Spencer, C. (2021, March 30). Black Teen, Dasia Taylor, is the inventor of a method to detect surgical infections. Black Enterprise. https://www.blackenterprise.com/black-teen-dasia-taylor-is-the-inventor-of-a-method-to-detect-surgical-infections/ 
The Ellen Degeneres Show. (2021, April 26). Astounding Teen Inventor Is Changing the Medical Field. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZILJSMFd3s 

Tuesday Apr 19, 2022

“My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.”
Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
First Native American to earn a medical degree
The Artwork:
Picotte’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink drawing of her n an 1886 map of Nebraska; the Omaha Reservation is marked on top right side of her head. The portrait is based on one of the few photographs that exist of Picotte. 
The Story:
The winter of 1891 was bitterly cold on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska, with temps diving to 20 degrees below zero. The cold wasn’t going to stop Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte from making a house call for a young girl taken gravely ill from the influenza outbreak wreaking havoc in the area. 
For the next two weeks, Picotte would visit her patient constantly, spend nights at the girl’s bedside and even cook meals for the family. When the girl eventually died, Picotte was by her side. Such was her dedication to her patients. The sole doctor on the 1,350 square mile reservation, Picotte was responsible for all 1,300 residents. 
As a young girl herself, Picotte watched an elderly Omaha woman die because a white doctor refused to come and help. Four times he was summoned; four times he said he’d be there soon. He never came and the woman died just after sunrise. Picotte said later, “It was only an Indian and it did not matter. The doctor preferred hunting for prairie chickens rather than visiting poor, suffering humanity.” 
The incident haunted Picotte for the rest of her life and spurred her to do what she could to make sure that never happened again. 
It was uncommon for women in the US at that time to go to medical school. Undeterred, Picotte enrolled at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania—one of the few schools that accepted women. After a three-year course of study, Picotte graduated as valedictorian in 1889, becoming the first female Native American to earn a medical degree in the US.
After graduation, she returned home to the Omaha Reservation and took the position of physician at the government boarding school there run by the Office of Indian Affairs. While technically responsible only for the students’ health, as the only doctor around, her people relied heavily on her for medical care, as well counsel around legal, finance, and political issues. She often worked 20-hour days, seeing patients at her clinic and making house calls. As she described it, “my office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.” 
She toiled for years this way, on a $500 government salary and a $250 medical missionary stipend (equal to nearly $22,000 in 2020).
Background on La Fleshe Picotte
Picotte’s father, Joseph La Flesche, also known as Iron Eyes, was the last recognized chief of the Omaha. He sought to help his people by advocating a level of assimilation. He encouraged his children to pursue education. Born on June 17, 1865  during the buffalo hunt in a remote area of the Omaha reservation, Picotte served as a bridge between her traditional society and the encroaching White American culture. 
In 1894, she married Henry Picotte and they had two sons. Going against Victorian-era expectations for married women, she continued practicing medicine.
Always dedicated to the health of the Omahas, she dreamed of building a hospital on the reservation. By 1913, raised the funds to open Walthill Hospital in 1913. As a single, widowed woman, building and staffing a modern hospital without any government assistance was an unheard-of achievement. After her death in 1915, the facility was renamed in her honor. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and the Library of Congress’ Omaha Music Collection. 
Changing the Face of Medicine. (n.d.). Changing the Face of Medicine | Susan La Flesche Picotte. NIH. https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_253.html 
Friedman, M. (n.d.). Inflation Calculator. Westegg. https://westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi?money=750&first=1890&final=2020 
Kettler, S. (2020, October 30). 5 Powerful and Influential Native American Women. Biography. https://www.biography.com/.amp/news/famous-native-american-women-native-american-heritage-month 
Nebraska Studies. (n.d.). Susan La Flesche Picotte First N.A. Female Physician. http://www.nebraskastudies.org/en/1875-1899/susan-la-flesche-picotte-first-na-female-physician/ 
Nusbaum, J. (2019, June 5). AMPLIFY: Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte. HerStry. https://herstryblg.com/amplify/2018/8/23/amplify-dr-susan-la-flesche-picotte 
Quote Catalog. (n.d.). Best Susan La Flesche Picotte Quotes | Quote Catalog. https://quotecatalog.com/communicator/susan-la-flesche-picotte 
Tague, T. (2020, October 5). Against the Current: The Legacy of Susan LaFleshe Picotte. Nations Media. https://nationsmedia.org/susan-lafleshe-picotte/ 
Vaughan, C. (2017, March 1). The Incredible Legacy of Susan La Flesche, the First Native American to Earn a Medical Degree. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/incredible-legacy-susan-la-flesche-first-native-american-earn-medical-degree-180962332/ 
Wikipedia contributors. (2022, March 29). Susan La Flesche Picotte. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_La_Flesche_Picotte 
Wilcox-Lee, N. (2016, November 6). Susan La Flesche Picotte. Sheroes of History. https://sheroesofhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/susan-la-flesche-picotte/ 

Tuesday Apr 12, 2022

“When you have a diverse team, you get different perspectives that help you succeed. It’s about having a team that has lots of ideas and grabbing the best one—that’s what diversity brings you.”
Admiral Michelle Howard
Highest ranking female officer in US Navy history
The artwork:
Howard’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink  drawing on a map of Washington, D.C. The Pentagon, where she served for part of her career, is on her lapel. On her chest is a bright medley of colors, representing the many awards she earned for her distinguished service.
The story:
In April 2009, Rear Admiral Michelle Howard was aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer commanding an anti-piracy task force when the call came in: 
Somali pirates had hijacked the American cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama 300 miles off the coast of Somalia and taken its captain—Richard Philips—hostage. The pirates removed Phillips from the ship and were speeding him to the shore in a life raft. 
“It was obvious that if they got to shore with Captain Phillips, we were probably not going to get him back,” says Howard. So she and her team devised a tactical plan to rescue him. 
It was a unique situation for Howard. Pirates hadn’t seized an American-flagged vessel since 1821 and Howard herself was just three days into her job leading Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151)—a multinational task force countering piracy around Somalia’s “Pirate Alley.” Immediately prior to her assignment to the Gulf of Aden to command CTF-151, she was serving in Washington, D.C. as a senior advisor to the Secretary of the Navy. 
“We were all trying to figure out how best to handle the mission,” she says. “We had an American citizen trapped on a life raft with pirates. In that circumstance you cannot even sleep. How could I possibly sleep when that poor man is out there, not knowing if he is going to live or die?”
Howard needed to get the pirates to stop moving without getting Phillips killed. Long an advocate for the power of diverse groups to generate innovative ideas, she gathered a team onboard her flagship to strategize Phillips’ rescue. “We needed to have folks outside the immediate problem give us different perspectives,” she said. The team she assembled included the ship’s meteorologist, a Somali interpreter who advised on culture, a former FBI agent, some marines, and enlisted sailors. She insisted on the sailors being present, “because they’re the people who make things happen on deck.” 
The result was a creative solution that employed the destroyer USS Bainbridge to make waves, pushing the raft away from the coast and giving Navy SEAL snipers an opportunity to kill the pirates. 
The successful rescue later inspired the 2013 movie “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.  
In 2014, Howard became the first woman promoted to the rank of four-star admiral in the US Navy. Concurrently, she was named vice-chief of naval operations (VCNO), the second-highest ranking officer in the navy. 
Background on Howard:
Howard was born into a military family on April 30, 1960 at March Air Reserve Base in California. The drive that propelled Howard to the highest echelons of the navy came in part from her mother. When Howard was 12 years old, she knew she wanted to attend a service academy, but they didn’t accept women. Her mother encouraged her not to give up on her dream, saying, “if you still want to go when you’re old enough to apply and if they’re still closed to women, we’ll sue the government.” 
In the end, the Naval Academy opened to women in 1976, two years before Howard completed high school. Howard graduated from USNA in 1982 with her bachelor’s degree. 
Becoming the first woman to earn the rank of “full admiral” was just one of many firsts Howard achieved throughout her career in the navy.
She assumed command of USS Rushmore in 1999, becoming the first black woman to command a ship in the navy. She was the first female graduate of the US Naval Academy to reach flag rank, becoming a rear admiral (lower half) in 2007, and then the first woman to reach rear admiral (2010) and vice admiral (2012). Following her service as VCNO, she went on to command the US Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa, becoming the first female four-star admiral to command operational forces. 
Howard retired in 2017, after nearly 36 years of service in the US Navy. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.
Billups, A. (2014, July 3). Admiral Michelle Howard Becomes Highest-Ranking Female Officer in U.S. Navy History. PEOPLE.com. https://people.com/celebrity/admiral-michelle-howard-becomes-highest-ranking-female-officer-in-u-s-navy-history/ 
Chappell, B. (2014, July 2). Navy Promotes Its First Female 4-Star Admiral. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/07/02/327655651/navy-promotes-its-first-female-four-star-admiral 
Fenn, D. (2015, May 25). 5 tough leadership lessons from the Navy’s top female commander. Fortune. https://fortune.com/2015/05/25/5-tough-leadership-lessons-from-the-navys-top-female-commander/amp/ 
Graves, L. & National Journal. (2015, May 15). For Michelle Howard, Saving Captain Phillips Is Her Least Impressive Accomplishment. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/for-michelle-howard-saving-captain-phillips-is-her-least-impressive-accomplishment/439578/ 
Morning Edition. (2014, October 10). A Phone Call Helped Navy’s First Four-Star Woman Embrace Her Path. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2014/10/10/353565847/a-phone-call-helped-navys-first-four-star-woman-embrace-her-path 
Rafferty, J. P. (2022, March 16). Michelle Howard | Biography & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michelle-Howard 
Sony Pictures Entertainment. (2013, May 14). CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - Official International Trailer. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEyM01dAxp8 
The Flagship. (2013, May 13). 20 Years | 20 Questions: Vice Adm. Michelle J. Howard. MilitaryNews.com. https://www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/special_sections/20th_anniversary/20-years-20-questions-vice-adm-michelle-j-howard/article_f26ef056-f948-5ef0-9d86-f3ccbe496e85.html 
Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.-a). Captain Phillips (film). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Phillips_(film) 
Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.-b). Michelle Howard. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Howard 

Tuesday Apr 05, 2022

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom
Member of the Dutch resistance, evangelist, and author
Ten Boom’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her on a map of the Dutch city of Haarlem. There is a red dot near her nose to mark the location of The Hiding Place, that is the home where she and her family hid Jews from the Nazis.
The story: 
At the outset of WWII, Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker, living with her sister Betsie and her father Casper above their watch store in Haarlem, Netherlands. Known in the city for helping anyone in need, a Jewish stranger knocked on their door seeking shelter. Casper welcomed the woman into their home, saying “In this household, God’s people are always welcome.” 
The ten Booms soon joined the Dutch underground and for the next two years around 800 Jews passed through their home on their way out of Nazi-occupied territory. The Gestapo raided the house in 1944 and Corrie and Betsy were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Despite horrific and nightmarish conditions, Corrie and Betsy spent their time sharing the gospel with their fellow prisoners until Betsy died in December 1944 and Corrie was released a few days later. 
After the war, a former Ravensbruck guard asked for her forgiveness. She described the moment in her book The Hiding Place, writing: 
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. And I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. 
“‘Jesus, help me!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’”
Background on ten Boom:
Ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892.
Before her death in the squalor of Ravensbruck, Betsy told Corrie about three visions she received from God about what they were to do after they got out of there. Her first vision was of a house for former prisoners, the second was to use a former concentration camp in Germany for the broken people in the country. The third was that they would be released before the new year of 1945. All three came true. 
Betsy died on December 16, 1944 and Corrie was released a few days later due to a clerical error (although she had to spend a few weeks in the camp’s hospital before she was allowed to leave). One week after Corrie was released, all the women her age in the camp were gassed. 
Immediately upon release Corrie opened a home in Bloemendaal for victims of the Nazis. Once this was established, she turned her attention to spreading the gospel and teaching the importance of forgiveness. This included a tour through Germany, where she opened a camp for German refugees in a former concentration camp in Darmstadt. The camp operated from 1946 through 1960. 
Corrie traveled the world to speak about her faith, visiting over 60 countries in 30 years. She also wrote dozens of books.
She was honored by the State of Israel as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” in 1967. Casper and Betsy were likewise honored in 2007. 
She died on her birthday in 1983 at the age of 91 in Placentia, California, US
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Oleksii Kaplunskyi. 
Christie, V. (2016, November 22). Giving Thanks in All Circumstances – Corrie ten Boom. VanceChristie.Com. http://vancechristie.com/2016/11/22/giving-thanks-circumstances-corrie-ten-boom/
Holocaust Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Corrie ten Boom. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/corrie-ten-boom
Life:Beautiful Magazine. (2020, February 6). Corrie Ten Boom: The Power of Forgiveness. https://lifebeautifulmagazine.com/profiles/corrie-ten-boom-the-power-of-forgiveness
McDaniel, D. (2015, May 21). 40 Powerful Quotes from Corrie Ten Boom. Crosswalk.Com. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/inspiring-quotes/40-powerful-quotes-from-corrie-ten-boom.html
PBS. (n.d.). The Question of God . Other Voices . Corrie ten Boom | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/boom.html
ten Boom, C., Sherrill, J., & Sherrill, E. (1971). The Hiding Place. Bantam.
ten Boom Museum. (2018, April 18). About the Ten Booms. https://tenboom.org/about-the-ten-booms/
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 20). Corrie ten Boom. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrie_ten_Boom
Yad Vashem. (n.d.). The Righteous Among the Nations Database: Boom ten Cornelia. https://righteous.yadvashem.org/?searchType=righteous_only&language=en&itemId=4014036&ind=NaN 

Tuesday Mar 29, 2022

“If you’re so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War.”
Iris Haq-Lukolyo
Fifth grade student
The artwork:
Iris Haq-Lukolyo’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her holding a copy of the magazine with her article in it, while wearing a T-shirt that with Kamala Harris’ “I’m Speaking” quote on it. I’ve drawn her on a contemporary map of her hometown of Pearland, TX. While Haq-Lukolyo herself fits within the edges of the town on the map, the magazine she is holding straddles the boundaries of the map and extends far into the margins of the paper, just as her voice did through the article.  
The Story:
A warm day in September 2020, ten-year-old Iris Haq-Lukolyo logged into her virtual classroom from the small desk in a bedroom of her Pearland, TX home. Her teacher said they would be learning about the Founding Fathers that day and how they built America. 
Something seemed missing from the lesson though, so the only Black student in the class spoke up: 
"I went off of mute, and I said, 'But didn't slaves build America?' And my teacher was like, 'oh, no, we don't talk about that in this classroom.'"
The teacher didn’t address the topic of slavery that day, or include it in any of lessons for the rest of the year, despite the fact that many of the Founding Fathers collectively enslaved thousands of Black people. Slavery also wasn’t something limited only to the cotton plantations in the South—at the time of the American Revolution, New York City was second only behind Charleston, SC in slave population. Even the White House and Capitol were built with slave labor. 
Devastated by the teacher’s harsh reaction, Haq-Lukolyo turned off her camera and cried. Her tears soon turned to action though. “As soon as I got on lunch break, I just took the whole break and started writing,” she says.  An avid writer, Haq-Lukolyo quickly filled two notebook pages with her thoughts on the incident:
"In Social Studies class, we were learning about who built ‘the greatest country in the world, America.’ The teacher started listing names like George Washington and other overrated white historic figures. And I was like, ummm, did you forget something about who actually built America? If you are so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War."
After detailing the incident and how black history is treated in schools, Haq-Lukolyo closed the essay with a plea: 
"I’m a fifth grader in Texas and I’m asking teachers two things: First, don’t shut down or mute conversations about slavery. It took courage for me to come off mute and make that contribution only to be shut down by the teacher. That hurts. Second, please teach American history in a way that shows the complex and, yes, racist history of our country. Students deserve to learn the ugly sides of our history so we won’t repeat the same mistakes, and also learn about amazing black historical figures beyond Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Harriet Tubman. These changes will make me feel seen and comfortable as a Black child in a classroom in America."
Her mother showed the essay to some friends and one recommended submitting to Skipping Stones, a national youth literary magazine. Skipping Stones published the article in December 2020 to widespread acclaim. 
“One person—which was my teacher—wasn’t hearing or listening to me, but thousands of other people were,” says Haq-Lukolyo. 
Her mother, Dr. Heather Haq, elaborated saying, “We heard from people all over the country, saying what a strong and powerful voice she had, how much clarity she had in her writing and how brave she was to not only stand up in the first place in her class, but then to also use her voice again to write this article. And we had people share that, ‘Oh, something like this happened to me when I was a student. But I never spoke up about it and I'm so glad you did.’”
After the incident, Haq-Lukolyo and her mother requested a meeting with the teacher to share how the classroom incident had affected her. The teacher made an attempt at an apology that fell flat. “She invited me to a Zoom meeting to apologize,” says Haq-Lukolyo. “ And her apology was that her dad was raised by black women, and that she likes black people, but there was no sincere apology. And I felt personally offended for a second time by her because if that was an apology to her, it's just kind of sad, because it had nothing to do with me and [she was saying that] just because I was black.” 
Originally born in Wisconsin, Haq-Lukolyo has lived all around the world, including Texas, Uganda, and then back to Texas to her present home in Pearland, a Houston suburb. For now, Haq-Lukolyo is focusing on developing her writing abilities and spending time on other interests like drawing and music. She is also part of a competitive dance team.
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno. 
Ambrose, S. E. (2002, November). Founding Fathers and Slaveholders. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/founding-fathers-and-slaveholders-72262393/ 
Anthony, C. (2017, November 26). How slave labor built and financed major U.S. cities. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2017/11/26/how-slave-labor-built-and-financed-major-u-s-cities/ Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2017). How Should We Judge Our Nation’s Founders? CRF-USA. https://crf-usa.org/images/t2t/pdf/HowShouldWeJudgeOurNation.pdf 
Haq, H. [@heather_haq]. (2021, January 4). Speaking up takes courage. Imagine being 10 yrs old & bravely making a contribution to your 5th grade history class [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/heather_haq/status/1346207913040371714 
Haq-Lukolyo, I. (2020, December). Muted: Fifth Grade Conversations About Slavery. Skipping Stones. https://www.skippingstones.org/wp/2020/12/21/muted-fifth-grade-conversations-about-slavery
Iris Haq-Lukolyo and Dr. Heather Haq, interview by author via Zoom, December 9, 2021. 
Lane, A. (2009, January 19). The legend of slaves building Capitol is correct. Politifact. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2009/jan/19/nancy-pelosi/legend-slaves-building-capitol-correct/ 
McShane, J. (2021, February 23). She’s the only Black kid in her fifth-grade class. She spoke up when slavery wasn’t included in a lesson plan. The Lily. https://www.thelily.com/gdpr-consent/?destination=%2fshes-the-only-black-kid-in-her-fifth-grade-class-she-spoke-up-when-slavery-wasnt-included-in-a-lesson-plan%2f%3f
White House Historical Association. (n.d.). Did enslaved people build the White House? WHHA. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/questions/did-slaves-build-the-white-house

Tuesday Mar 22, 2022

“I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me.” 
Julia Margaret Cameron
The artwork:
Ink  drawing on a map of the Island of Wight, UK, based on a self portrait by Julia Cameron. Her home in Freshwater is located on the left side, above her head.
The story:
Julia Cameron began career as a photographer relatively late at the age of 48, when she was given her first camera. A present from her daughter, the camera was meant to be a source of entertainment for Cameron at her UK home on the Isle of Wight while her husband tended to his coffee plantations in Sri Lanka. “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude,” said her daughter. 
Cameron took to photography with gusto, learning her craft and focusing on making portraits in her studio converted from a chicken coop. 
“Many and many a week in the year 1864, I worked fruitlessly, but not hopelessly… I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass,” she said of her photographic beginnings. 
However, she did not stay “fruitless” for long and she quickly came to see her camera as, “A living thing, with voice, memory, and a creative vigor.” 
Within a year, she was a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. She developed a unique style, characterized by close-cropped intimate portraits that were often deliberately slightly out of focus or blurred by her subjects moving during long exposures. 
Highly unconventional for her day, her style was heavily criticized by the photography establishment during her lifetime for her supposedly poor technique. She is now recognized as one of Britain’s greatest portrait photographers of the 19th century and credited with creating the first close-up portraits in the history of the medium. Cameron dismissed the carping by her peers of her soft focus work, saying,  “What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus?”
Cameron’s photography career was short but productive. She made around 900 photographs over a 12-year period, registering each of them with the copyright office. Her subjects included luminaries from the London cultural scene, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Charles Darwin. 
While her photos of eminent Victorian men featured strong contrasts in light and shadow (chiaroscuro) resulting in powerful images, her portraits of women are noted for their particularly sensitive and often delicate renderings of female beauty.  
Describing her photography career, Cameron said, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied. Its difficulty enhanced the value of the pursuit.”
Background on Cameron:
The daughter of an East India Company official, Cameron was born in India on June 11, 1815. She was educated with relatives in France and then she returned to India after completing her schooling. She met her husband, Charles Hay Cameron, while both of them were convalescing, likely from malaria. They married in Kolkata, two years after meeting. 
Her photography was actively supported by her husband and she eagerly showed him every photograph she made: 
“My husband from first to last has watched every picture with delight, and it is my daily habit to run to him with every glass upon which a fresh glory is newly stamped, and to listen to his enthusiastic applause. This habit of running into the dining-room with my wet pictures has stained such an immense quantity of table linen with nitrate of silver, indelible stains, that I should have been banished from any less indulgent household,” she said.
By all accounts, the Camerons were a happy couple, devoted to each other. They raised 11 children together, six of their own and five orphans they adopted. They moved to London in the 1840s and were an active part of the social and cultural scene. After visiting Tennyson’s home on the Isle of Wight, Cameron was taken with the location and they bought their own home on the island, calling it Dimbola Lodge. 
She died on January 26, 1879 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, where her husband held coffee plantations. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Michael Kobrin.
Cameron, J. M. (2016, February 15). 11 Quotes By Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. John Paul Caponigro. https://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/16476/11-quotes-by-photographer-julia-margaret-cameron/ 
Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Julia Margaret Cameron | British photographer. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Julia-Margaret-Cameron 
Photogpedia. (2021, March 21). 25 Timeless Julia Margaret Cameron Quotes to Bookmark. https://photogpedia.com/julia-margaret-cameron-quotes/
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 7). Julia Margaret Cameron. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Margaret_Cameron

Tuesday Mar 15, 2022

“If I perish, I perish.”
Queen Esther
Biblical queen of Persia
The Artwork:
Esther’s portrait  in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink drawing of her on an 1843 map of Persia and surrounding region. The portrait is based on 19th and early 20th century painter Kate Gardiner Hastings’ painting called “Esther.” 
The Story:
Haman, the highest ranking official in the Persian court of King Xerxes, nursed a grudge against a Jewish man and conspired to have all the Jews in Xerxes’ realm killed. A royal decree was sent out for their destruction. 
When Mordecai heard of the murderous plot, he brought the news to the young woman he had raised as a daughter—Esther, the Queen of Persia. At Mordecai’s urging, Esther kept her Jewish heritage secret when she became queen. This time, he instructed her to go before the king and beg for mercy for her people.
At this time, it was a death sentence to appear before the king without an invitation and it had been 30 days since the king had called for Esther. Yet Mordecai appealed to Esther, saying, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther responded to Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in the city. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
On the third day, dressed in her royal robes, Esther entered the throne room. Seeing the queen, the king was pleased with her and asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.”
Knowing her husband’s fondness for food and wine, Esther invited the king and Haman to a series of banquets. After eating and drinking, the king again asked Esther, “What is your petition? It will be given to you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.”
By the end of the evening, Haman was dead, Mordecai elevated in his place, and a fresh edict issued to cancel out the original murderous plan. 
From that time to the present, Jews around the world celebrate Queen Esther’s bravery in saving her people from genocide with the Purim holiday (usually in March).
Background on Esther:
Esther’s ascent to the heights of the Persian royal court was an unlikely trajectory. Born in exile away from the Jewish homeland around 592 BC, Esther was an orphan. Her cousin, Mordecai raised her as his own daughter. She would have had a normal life if it were not for an unusual series of events that kicked off when she was a young woman—perhaps just a teenager. 
After a weeklong bender with all the men of his capital city, King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to come out before his guests wearing nothing but the royal crown. When she refused, his advisors counseled the king that this offense was not only against the king but against all the men of the kingdom and if not dealt with harshly, would cause all the wives in the realm to disrespect their husbands. So, Vashti was disposed of, never to be heard of again. 
Xerxes commissioned a search for a new queen and all the beautiful virgins of the kingdom were brought to the palace. After undergoing months of beauty treatments, the women were sent to the king one by one for him to sleep with. Esther won the king’s favor, and he made her queen. 
This episode contains music from Geovane Bruno and the English Chamber Orchestra performing the Overture to George Friderich Handel’s oratorio “Esther”
Brown, E. (2020, March 8). Esther, Sex, and Power. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/esther-sex-and-power/607534/
Crispe, S. E. (n.d.). Esther: Hidden Beauty. Chabad.Org. https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/367185/jewish/Esther-Hidden-Beauty.htm
Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Esther | Encyclopedia.com. https://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/bible/old-testament/esther
Esther (NIV). (n.d.). Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther%202&version=NIV
Friedlander, R. (n.d.). Five Things About Esther That Nobody Talks About. Jews for Jesus. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/inherit/five-things-about-esther-that-nobody-talks-about
Isbouts, J. (2021, May 4). Did Queen Esther’s beauty or bravery foil a massacre? National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/queen-esther-beauty-bravery-foil-massacre
Koren, Y. (2018, February 26). The harem of violated women in Megillat Esther. The Times of Israel. https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-harem-of-violated-women-in-megillat-esther/
Wikipedia contributors. (2022, March 6). Esther. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther

Tuesday Mar 08, 2022

“People said I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So, I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies.”
Melissa Blake
Writer and disabilities activist 
The Artwork:
Blake’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her, based on one of the selfies she defiantly posted, “to commemorate the occasion.” I’ve drawn her on a map of her hometown, DeKalb, Illinois.
The Story: 
After writing an op-ed on CNN.com in August 2019, Melissa Blake discovered 100s of comments mocking her appearance. While hurtful, Blake was accustomed to the abuse and usually took it in stride. But something was different this time. 
Reflecting on the episode, she writes, “As a woman writer with a genetic bone and muscular disorder, I’m used to being called names like ‘blobfish’ and ‘whale,’ but there was one comment I just couldn’t shake. Someone said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly.
The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to respond in some way. Not directly to the person, but as a general statement.”
Blake settled on a set of selfies on Twitter as a suitable response, posting:
“People said I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So, I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies.”
The defiant tweet quickly went viral and her Twitter follower count rocketed up from under 8,000 to over 100k. 
Buoyed by the army of supporters, Blake began posting a selfie everyday under the hashtag #MyBestSelfie. Weeks went by. Then months. More than a year later, Blake continues to post her “best selfie” every day, saying “I post selfies to unapologetically take up space and demand to be seen as a disabled woman.” 
People around the world have joined the movement, posting their own photos. Her daily discipline has inspired other disabled people and educated legions of enabled people. More importantly, Blake found a new level of personal confidence: “With each selfie, I felt more comfortable in my own body and discovered a freedom I’d never really felt before as a disabled woman,” she says.
Background on Blake:
Born on August 4, 1981 in DeKalb, Illinois, Blake has Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a rare bone and muscle disorder that primarily affects the face, hands, and feet. The disorder gives people a distinctive facial appearance. She’s had nearly 30 operations, including surgeries on her knees, hands, hips, and spine. 
While she uses a wheelchair to maneuver the physical world, she’s under no such limitations online and she’s become a force for positivity on the internet. Blake is a writer and her work has appeared in publications as diverse as Glamour and The New York Times, and her personal blog, So About What I Said. 
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha. 
ABC news. (2019, September 19). Writer behind viral #mybestselfie trend talks cyberbullying [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy5RGfUfokY
ABC News. (2020, October 25). Blogger Melissa Blake claps back at hateful online comments about her appearance, disability [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_f-0Whh22Y 
Blake, M. (2019a, August 3). What if we all unfollowed Trump on Twitter? (opinion). CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/03/opinions/donald-trump-unfollow-on-twitter-blake/index.html
Blake, M. (2020, September 30). After An Internet Troll Told Me I Was “Too Ugly,” I Spent A Year Posting Selfies. Refinery29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/09/10031949/melissa-blake-writer-twitter-selfies-trollgate-interview
Blake, M. [@melissablake]. (2019b, September 7). During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/melissablake/status/1170481393673166849
Brennan, R. (2011, July 21). Dating With Disabilities: Q&A With Melissa Blake of So About What I Said. Glamour. https://www.glamour.com/story/dating-with-disabilities-qa-wi
Jensen, E. (2019, September 20). Internet trolls said writer Melissa Blake was too “ugly” to post pictures, so she shared selfies. USA TODAY. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/09/20/melissa-blake-writer-shares-selfies-twitter-trolls/2386393001/
MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Freeman-Sheldon syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/freeman-sheldon-syndrome/
WGN News. (2019, September 16). Writer trolled for her looks posts selfies in response, gets outpouring of support [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgJ60rhq2h0

Tuesday Mar 01, 2022

“You can be whatever you set your heart and head to be, and don’t let anybody tell you can’t be, because 1,078 women pilots did it in WWII.”
Annelle Henderson Bulechek
Aviator, WASP
To represent the WASPs in in the Fearless Portrait project, I’ve drawn WASP squadron leader, Betty Gillies, in white ink, on a blueprint of a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane. The first pilot to fly for the WASP, she was also the first woman to fly the P-47.  
The story:
As the WWII war effort strained manpower and resources, women were tapped to fill traditionally male jobs. The US Air Force (then part of the army) was not immune to the manpower shortages and to free up men for combat duty, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was formed. 
Flying more than 60 million miles during the war, the 1,000+ members of the all-female corps flew every single plane in the army’s inventory—78 different types, from the tiny P-51 Mustang fighters to the huge B-29 Superfortress bombers. These women flew 80% of all ferrying missions, delivering 12,000 aircraft from factories to army bases. Additionally, they towed about 90% of the aerial targets for air-to-air combat training and live anti-aircraft artillery practice. 
When WASP founder Jacqueline Cochran put out the call for applicants, more than 25,000 women applied. Of those 1,830 were accepted and 1,078 made it through the training. Promised commissions, they were trained as officers and had to follow the rules for officers, they were nevertheless denied officer ranks. They served as civilians, meaning that not only did they not have military rank, they did not have insurance, veteran, burial or death benefits until 1977.
Despite the snub, they served with distinction. General of the Air Force, Henry “Hap” Arnold even used them to show up male pilots. When men didn’t want to fly the difficult B-29 bomber, Arnold recruited two WASPs to fly a B-29 and embarrassed the men into flying it without complaint. 
Many men were unhappy with having to work with female pilots and the WASPs faced significant discrimination. Women over 35 weren’t even allowed to enter the WASP, as the military had determined 40 was the beginning of menopause and wanted to ensure none of the WASPs would be entering the time of “debilitating irrationality” while in service. 
The WASP was disbanded in December 1944. 
“They said we couldn’t do it. We did it, and we did it successfully,” said Annelle Henderson Bulechek, one of the WASPs. “And by, Hap Arnold’s own account, we did it as well as any man could have done it. I think that’s the legacy that we leave behind us—that laws and lawsuits [about getting proper veteran status] and everything else doesn’t make you what you are. It’s what you want to be and what you go ahead and do that counts.”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha. 
Air Space. (n.d.). AirSpace Season 3|Ep.9Fly Girl. National Air and Space Museum. https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/airspaces3ep9
Chen, P. C. (n.d.). Betty Gillies. WW2DB. https://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=505
Digital Public Library of America. (n.d.-a). Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) | DPLA. https://dp.la/exhibitions/american-aviatrixes/women-air-force-service-pilots/deactivation-of-the-wasps
Digital Public Library of America. (n.d.-b). Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) | DPLA. https://dp.la/exhibitions/american-aviatrixes/women-air-force-service-pilots
Pauley, H. (n.d.). The Unsung Heroines of World War II - WASP. Megavision. https://www.megavision.net/wasp/index.html
Veterans History Project. (2003, March 5). Interview with Annelle Bulechek [03/25/2003]. Library of Congress. http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.08083/transcript?ID=mv0001 
WASP Annelle Henderson Bulechek. (n.d.). Wings Across America. http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/web/bulechek_annelle_NEW.htm 
Wikipedia contributors. (2021a, November 10). Betty Gillies. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Gillies 
Wikipedia contributors. (2021b, November 24). Women Airforce Service Pilots. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_Airforce_Service_Pilots 

Tuesday Feb 22, 2022

“There was no choice but to be a pioneer.”
Margaret Hamilton
Mother of software engineering
Hamilton’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project is based on an iconic photograph of her standing next to a stack of binders about as tall as she is. These binders contained the computer code she and her team wrote for the Apollo Mission. I’ve drawn her with black ink on a 1966 US Air Force map of the moon.
The Story:
On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were three minutes away from making their historic landing on the moon when the lunar lander’s onboard computer began spitting out emergency alarms. 
Faced with the critical choice of aborting the mission or not, flight controllers in Houston chose to trust the computer’s software that Margaret Hamilton, director of Apollo flight computer programming and her team at MIT’s Draper Laboratory developed. 
“It quickly became clear the software was not only informing everyone that there was a hardware-related problem but was compensating for it,” said Hamilton. 
It turned out that the astronaut’s checklist was at fault, telling them to set the rendezvous radar switch in the wrong position. The radar began bombarding the onboard computer with irrelevant information and overloading the computer. In a situation like this, Hamilton’s code dictated the computer should reboot. The restarting process allowed the computer to reprioritize tasks—ignoring the incoming radar information and focusing on the critical landing calculations. 
“If the computer hadn't recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful Moon landing it was,” Hamilton would later write. 
In an era before screens, Hamilton and her team manually typed 11,000 pages of code writing the Apollo Project software. Stacked up, the software was the same height as Hamilton. The monumental achievement of putting a man on the moon was all the more impressive as the astronauts had access to a mere 72 kilobytes of memory. A standard smartphone today has more than million times more storage space. 
Six and half hours after the fraught landing, Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon, saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Background on Hamilton:
Hamilton was born on August 17, 1936 in Paoli, Indiana. After graduating in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, she took a job at MIT. It was supposed to be a temporary step, supporting her husband while he was in law school. It was here that she first learned what a computer was and how to write software. Her early experiences at MIT paved the way for her passion for building ultra-reliable software. 
Initially planning to leave her job and pursue a master’s in abstract mathematics, she caught the programming bug and continued working at MIT when the university was asked to work on the Apollo space program. 
“I was the first programmer to join and the first woman they hired,” she said. “Male engineers were already working on the project, but they were hardware engineers and it wasn’t their thing.”
Within a few years, she was leading a whole team of programmers at MIT in what would later be known as Draper Laboratory. 
Her work as a computer scientist and a mother often collided and Hamilton would bring her daughter, Lauren, to the lab at night and on weekends. One day, Hamilton was running a simulation of a moon mission and Lauren began punching buttons like her mom.
Lauren began running a pre-launch program while the system was already “on the way” to the moon and the system crashed and erased the navigational data taking her to the moon. 
“This could inadvertently happen in a real mission,” thought Hamilton and she pushed for software changes to address the issue. The higher-ups at NASA said the astronauts were too well trained to make such a mistake. On the very next mission—Apollo 8—astronaut Jim Lovell made the exact same error. NASA let Hamilton make the software fix after that.  
Still in their infancy when Hamilton began her career, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines. Programmers often came from math backgrounds and learned on the job. As Hamilton put it, “there was no choice but to be pioneers.” 
Ever the innovator, Hamilton coined the term “software engineering” while working on the Apollo project. 
“I fought to bring the software legitimacy so that it—and those building it—would be given due respect. I began to use the term ‘software engineering’ to distinguish it from hardware and other kinds of engineering, yet treat each type of engineering as part of the overall systems engineering process. Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline,” she explained. 
Building on her Apollo work, Hamilton founded two companies—Higher Order Software (HOS) in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986. 
Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, saying, “Her example speaks of the American spirit of discovery that exists in every little girl and little boy who know that somehow, to look beyond the heavens is to look deep within ourselves—and to figure out just what is possible.”
This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno, Toma Mutiu, and Alex Chernykh.
American Experience. (2019, June 3). The Women Who Brought Us the Moon. American Experience | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/chasing-moon-women-who-brought-us-moon/
Cameron, L. (2020, August 11). First Software Engineer. IEEE Computer Society. https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/events/what-to-know-about-the-scientist-who-invented-the-term-software-engineering/
Corbyn, Z. (2019, July 16). Margaret Hamilton: ‘They worried that the men might rebel. They didn’t.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/13/margaret-hamilton-computer-scientist-interview-software-apollo-missions-1969-moon-landing-nasa-women
George, A. (2019, March 14). Margaret Hamilton Led the NASA Software Team That Landed Astronauts on the Moon. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/margaret-hamilton-led-nasa-software-team-landed-astronauts-moon-180971575/
Hamilton, M. H. (n.d.). Margaret H. Hamilton Quotes. Citatis.Com. https://citatis.com/a7438/
Matthews, D. (2019, July 17). Margaret Hamilton: the Apollo software engineer who saved the moon landing. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2015/5/30/8689481/margaret-hamilton-apollo-software
McMillan, R. (2015, October 13). Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself. Wired. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/margaret-hamilton-nasa-apollo/
NASA. (2003, September 3). Margaret Hamilton. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11Hamilton.html
Obama, B. (2016, November 23). Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Whitehouse.Gov. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/22/remarks-president-presentation-presidential-medal-freedom
Senkal, M. (2020, May 20). History of Computer Girls, Part 2: Margaret! Metal Toad. https://www.metaltoad.com/blog/history-computer-girls-part-2-margaret
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 23). Margaret Hamilton (software engineer). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(software_engineer)



Know of an amazing woman who should be profiled in this podcast and art project? Please share their story! I’m always looking for more people to include. Any other questions, comments, or concerns? 

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Your host Dan Landau

I am a self-taught artist specializing in figurative works drawn on maps. My work has been published in a variety of outlets, including The New York Times, Huff Post, and The Nation, and is held in private collections around the world. I live in New Jersey with my favorite muses: my wife and two daughters.

Why maps?

I’ve always liked maps. As a kid, I pored over the map inserts that came with my National Geographic magazines. Now, I use maps as my canvas for creating art.

My work typically consists of subjects drawn in ink on paper maps. Sometimes I cut away portions of the map, leaving the drawing and the roads behind. I like to work with maps because maps have quite a bit of meaning baked into them. They represent places with special associations for us. They help us get to know new places. I use maps as a metaphor for connection and exploration in my work.

Map selection is a crucial part of my process. Sometimes my subjects are deeply and obviously entwined with the maps I draw them on—for example, women profiled in the Fearless Portraits series are drawn on maps of locations connected to their stories. Sometimes the connection is more abstract—evoking ideas of a journey and philosophical travel. Or, perhaps I just liked how the curve of a road matched the subject’s nose.

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