As the world continues to grapple with sudden passing of beloved actor Chadwick Boseman in late August, Disneyland is spreading a little cheer in his honor.
Visual artists from across the globe have taken took to social media in the days and weeks since Boseman’s death to share beautifully-crafted artistic tributes to the actor and the rich legacy he left behind with his work. Though the visuals have included those inspired by the Award-winning entertainer’s performances in films like 42, Get On Up, 21 Bridges, Da 5 Bloods & others, most of the pieces have been centric to his unforgettable role as King T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther.
Among the artists who first shared his artistic interpretation of the character on social media was professional Concept Artist, Author and Illustrator Nikkolas Smith. In the original artwork first shared to Smith’s Instagram page on August 29, Boseman is seen kneeling next to a young child who is outfitted in what appears to be a hospital gown while also wearing a Black Panther mask. Both have their arms up and crossed in the signature Wakanda salute. Smith noted in the accompanying caption that prints of the art would be available for fans to purchase, with a portion of the proceeds from the sales going to The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, both of which provide medical care & support for children battling cancer and other terminal illnesses.
Fast forward a few weeks and Disney has since unveiled a larger-than-life version of the artwork as a mural in its Downtown Disney shopping district. “This one is special,” he wrote in the caption accompanying a more recent Instagram post sharing the news of the mural. “My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney. 🐾 It is a full circle moment for me: my final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus. To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman.”
The drawing holds a special significance, as it serves as a nod to Boseman’s remarkable selflessness that saw him visit with children at St. Jude while silently battling cancer himself. .