One Image, One Question: June 5, 2016

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Like many around the world, I was saddened to learn of the passing Friday of Muhammad Ali — the greatest in a lot of ways.

This print, "Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston," hangs above our vintage radio-phonograph.

This print, “Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston,” hangs above our vintage radio-phonograph.

Yes, he was the boxing heavyweight world champ three times.  And, he was equally a champion in battling against injustice and for equality and human rights here in the United States and across the globe.

But what intrigues me to this day was Ali’s mastery of communication surrounding his boxing career and life outside the ring. Punctuated by poetry, driven by honesty and framed in braggadocio, Ali could drive home a message much more effectively and convincingly than most who were trained and scripted to do so. Then and especially today.

I’m not sure if Ali received any formal counsel from public relations professionals, but he clearly was in a class by himself when prompted  to share his thoughts, or speaking spontaneously, which of course happened a lot.

Now, onto today’s image and question.  The image at left shows a charcoal print titled, “Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston.” It’s from 1999, and it hangs in our living room above, appropriately enough, a vintage Grundig Majestic radio-phonograph.

The print is signed, but I can’t make out the name of the artist (Martin Ivy, perhaps); Google and eBay searches did not reveal any results. If you’re unsure of the symbolism, the work depicts the dramatic 1964 Ali victory over Liston in a match held in Maine. Neil Leifer, a photographer for Sports Illustrated, captured an image of Ali towering over a downed Liston.

The word “iconic” perhaps doesn’t do justice to all that’s captured in this one frame shot by Mr. Leifer. So, for the question:
What other iconic photographic images have inspired artists to create paintings, sculpture or literature?

Champ, rest in peace. You lived life on your own terms, and you touched many, beyond that mean left hook or right cross.

And, one more question: Who is the artist behind the print?




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