Men of Change Facebook link Men of Change Twitter link Men of Change Instagram link

Shaun Leonardo

DEPICTING Lebron James

When considering his legacy, LeBron James’s activist work will be equally weighed alongside his time on the court. Here, the artist focuses on James’s hands. Rather than a portrayal of his hands while charged with the basketball, however, they are depicted while fulfilling another role—that of a different kind of champion. Extracted from a moment during his speech at the opening of his school, James’s hands point to the future, enacting his promise of social change.

A water-color painting of a pair of African American hands.
Champion [LeBron James], 2018. Shaun Leonardo. Courtesy of the artist.
A photo of a man in a white tank-top on which is written “FREEDOM CAN”, with his head propped up on his fist.


Shaun Leonardo

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work addresses definitions of black and brown masculinities, societal notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment. Leonardo intends to disrupt meaning and shift perspective.

A Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York, Leonardo received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has received support from Creative Capital and related philanthropies, and been profiled in the New York Times. His work, presented nationally and internationally, will appear in solo exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Leonardo joined Pratt Institute as the School of Art Visiting Fellow in 2018.

A black & white photo of an African American man straddling a chair, mirrored to the left and right, the only difference between them being the position of his clasped hands.

LeBron James, 2017. Liam MacRae.

Man of Change

Lebron James

Learn More >>