Ali the Greatest

Phil Akashi created a portrait of the legend Muhammad Ali in Shanghai in 2011. The portrait is made of 50.000 imprints of Chinese seal with character "杰" meaning great, outstanding.
Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942) was an American former professional boxer, nicknamed "The Greatest", generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the sport's history. A controversial and polarizing figure during his early career, Ali is today widely regarded for the skills he displayed in the ring plus the values he exemplified outside of it: religious freedom, racial justice and the triumph of principle over expedience. 

Born Cassius Clay, he began training at 12 years old and at the age of 22 won the world heavyweight championship in 1964. Shortly after that bout, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975. In 1967, three years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

'I am America,' he once declared. 'I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.' That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age—not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today. Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. President Obama






Muhammad Ali the Greatest Phil Akashi
Ali the Greatest
Ink on canvas with traditional seal imprints with Chinese character 杰 / great, outstanding. 200cm*150cm, Shanghai 2011



Phil Akashi Muhammad Ali Shanghai 2011Detail



Ali the Greatest Phil Akashi




Ali the Greatest Phil Akashi