Artwork / 2019 / Richard Stallman

Richard M Stallman, portrait by Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
Richard Stallman
acrylic on panel
12 x 9 inches

The subject of this portrait is a legend, a hero, and a friend. I first met Richard in Switzerland in 2014, where we were both speaking at TEDxGeneva. Over the years, we kept intersecting in similar circumstances, at events promoting the free software and free culture advocacy that Richard pioneered.

Eventually, we became friends outside of conferences too, with Richard pushing me to be a freer artist and me pushing him to read more science fiction by women and people of color. I painted him as a symbol of our friendship, but also as a kind of art-journaling. This portrait reminds me of the importance of Richard’s advocacy and of the need to keep fighting for what’s right.