A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

What I See: 6 illustrators on what it means to lift up others

3 min
Illustration by Sally Nixon
Illustration by Sally Nixon
“What I See” is a recurring feature that offers us a glimpse of the world as seen through others’ eyes. For this edition, we asked six artists to share an illustration that explores “lift”—the idea that when we lift up women, we lift up all of humanity.

Aya Tashir

Aya Tashir is an illustrator and comic artist based in Israel who draws from her own real-life experiences, making the personal universal.
Illustration by Aya Tashir
“I chose this work because a strong, empowering female friendship can lift you up so much. It can lift you up to accomplish more professionally and creatively, and it can help you overcome difficulties and crises. This is a portrait of two best friends who have lifted each other through a lot and will continue to do so.”
Bryce Wymer

Bryce Wymer is an American-born visual artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. His work addresses social progress and the relationship between the powerful and the powerless.
Illustration by Bryce Wymer
“Within this illustration, I wanted to literally work with the idea of lifting/helping between two individuals. I did not necessarily want any individual to seem weak or defeated. It is more of a visual depiction of how singularity is not always the best path to greatness.”
Higina Garay

Higina Garay studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country. She is an illustrator and graphic designer in Bilbao, Spain.
Illustration by Higina Garay
“This work is about starting out a new landscape for women through collective care and support.”
Ivana Armanini

Ivana Armanini is a comic artist, illustrator, and social activist. Her comics push the boundaries of what comics can look like. Her projects include komikaze.hr and femicomix.
Illustration by Ivana Armanini
“The phenomena of the female creative unity, visualized through the big 'Lego’ body. When we women lift to the next level of civilization, we stand up for the better future and brighter perspective, leaving behind the ruins of old patriarchic societies.”
Julia Kuo

Julia Kuo is a freelance editorial and book illustrator. She draws editorials for newspapers and magazines about everything from tardigrades to prison labor camps. Her next illustrated book, Heroism Begins with Her, is about highlighting strong women in American military history.
Illustration by Julia Kuo
“They say only 30 percent of people see Denali when they visit, but I was in that lucky third. The sight was incredible; it rose far above any geographical features in view. The mountain was so blanketed in snow that it seemed to glow like a daytime moon. I am part of a large wave of women of color getting into the outdoors to pursue activities traditionally associated with white men. Not only have these hobbies made me feel strong and empowered; they have also given me friendship and community. I chose this illustration because I want all women to feel similarly inspired and emboldened, to find their metaphorical mountain (if not a literal one!).”
Sally Nixon

Sally Nixon is an illustrator who draws everyday scenes. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Illustration by Sally Nixon
“I chose this work because reading to young girls encourages imagination and creativity and opens up an entire world of possibility.”