Carolina Caycedo

Assata Shakur, from the series Criminal Women, Political Matters, 2002 - ongoing
Pen, pencil and marker on paper
13 x 9 1/2 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Instituto de Visión

In Criminal Women: Political Matters, artist and activist Carolina Caycedo presents portraits of "women who have been criminalized legally or socially, for their actions or for their thoughts." Copying mass media images of such figures as Assata Olugbala Shakur, a former member of the Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army, and Ulrike Meinhof, a co-founder of the Red Army Faction (commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Group), Caycedo subverts traditional notions of femininity by reconstructing the normally patriarchal account of social dissent, armed resistance and radicalism.

Assata Shakur (b. JoAnne Deborah Byron) was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens. According to her website, she was pulled over by New Jersey State Police on May 2, 1973, shot twice and charged with the murder of a police officer. Apprehended in 1977 and found guilty for murder, Shakur was sentenced to life in prison. She escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey in 1979 and surfaced in Cuba in 1984, where she has been living under political asylum and in exile since. In 2013, she was named a most wanted terrorist by the FBI—the first woman ever to make the list.

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