Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stands two stories tall in a new mural unveiled Monday on historic U Street in Northwest D.C.
The Supreme Court justice is depicted wearing a signature decorative collar over her judicial robe, standing tall and smiling on the side of the red building. Birds are painted around her and flying from her hands.
Rose Jaffe, 30, a local artist in Washington, was asked by the company Flock DC to paint the mural on the side of its building.
“RBG is iconic. She inspires all of us to follow our dreams,” Lisa Wise, the CEO of Flock DC, an umbrella brand for three existing D.C.-based real estate and lifestyle companies, told CNN in a statement.
Wise said the mural represents “our passion as a woman-owned company” and is a way to “inspire good citizenship.” The mural was officially unveiled Monday at the company’s soft launch.
Jaffe told CNN the project took 10 days from start to finish. She painted Ginsburg’s face, collar and hands on exterior wood panels, which were then installed on the brick wall. She felt she couldn’t do Ginsburg’s portrait justice if she painted directly on the textured brick, so Jaffe spent days meticulously painting Ginsburg’s face in the studio. The birds released from Ginsburg’s hands are meant to represent Flock DC’s brand, and the next generation of activists and young people following in Ginsburg’s legacy, she said.
Jaffe described herself as a feminist, and said she creates social justice-oriented art around the city. She has looked up to Ginsburg for a long time, and said she hopes the mural “honors the importance of (Ginsburg’s) larger-than-life legacy.” She did not need permission from the city to paint the mural on the company-owned building.
Ginsburg, the second female justice named to the Supreme Court, is a vocal dissenter on a high court that is increasingly conservative. The “Notorious RBG” meme, a play on the rapper “Notorious B.I.G.,” grew in popularity in 2013 as fans responded to her dissenting opinion in a case in which the conservative majority issued a milestone decision rolling back voting-rights protections.
A former women’s rights lawyer who argued six groundbreaking cases before the justices early in her career, Ginsburg enhanced her reputation as a supporter of women’s rights on the bench. Over time, she also wrote opinions advancing broader civil rights and liberties.
At age 86, Ginsburg is a four-time cancer survivor and the eldest of the nine sitting justices. In December, Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung and missed oral arguments for the first time earlier this year while recovering.
In August, the Supreme Court announced Ginsburg had been treated for pancreatic cancer.
Last year, CNN Films released a documentary called “RBG,” recounting Ginsburg’s professional history, including her multiple arguments before the Supreme Court before her nomination to the high court by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
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