Nearly a month after his untimely passing, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s life and career continues to inspire other artists.
The latest tribute to the late actor’s legacy comes from Nikkolas Smith, an author and illustrator who got his start as a Disney Imagineer — the wizards who bring the magic of the Mouse House to life.
On Instagram, Smith unveiled a new mural honouring “King Chad” that is currently on display at the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim.
“This one is special,” he wrote of the image, which depicts Boseman and a young Black child wearing a Black Panther mask giving each other the “Wakanda Forever” salute. “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.”
This one is special. 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. I'm so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick's life and purpose in this way. I am grateful to the Disney family for being so supportive of my journey as an artist. @waltdisneyimagineering @disney @marvelstudios @disneyland 🐾✨ #LongLiveTheKing #KingChad #WakandaForever #Phambili #DowntownDisney #BlackPanther #ChadwickBoseman #RIPChadwick #WDI
A post shared by Nikkolas Smith (@nikkolas_smith) on
Smith went on to reveal why the image meant so much to him beyond his love for Boseman and Black Panther.
Before departing Walt Disney Imagineering, he worked on Disney’s 2018 initiative to make over children’s hospitals around the country with themed patient rooms and new elements like “enchanted” artwork. Smith was also part of the team that worked on early design concepts for Avengers Campus, which was scheduled to open at Disneyland this summer. (With the theme park still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, that opening has been delayed.)
“It is a full circle moment for me,” he wrote, adding: “I'm so thankful to be able to honour Chadwick's life and purpose in this way.”
Twitter has already declared Smith’s painting to be worthy of cinematic royalty like King Chad.
Beautiful mural dedicated to Chadwick Boseman at Downtown Disney by Disney Imaginer and artist Nikkolas Smith. pic.twitter.com/wi2DQJkhVS
— Angela Mack (@AngelaDMack) September 24, 2020
— Wicked Specialist (@reel_geek) September 24, 2020
Absolutely beautiful work and tribute
— TessC (@TessC846) September 24, 2020
That is amazing. 💙
— Karen Hallion (@Khallion) September 24, 2020
And Smith doesn’t only sketch big-screen heroes: he also posted a portrait of beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg following her death last week.
— NIKKOLAS (@4NIKKOLAS) September 18, 2020
Black Panther is currently streaming on Disney+