While the daily front pages of newspapers after major world events try to encapsulate the night before, it is the cover of TIME Magazine that embodies the past, present and future all on one page. This week the web is crowning American illustrator Tim O'Brien as the 'go-to guy for fallen dictators'. Celebrated for his Osama Bin Laden TIME cover in May of this year, O'Brien creates another iconic portrait to what could be an end of an era for the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Since the Libyan dictator is still on the run, O'Brien portrays Gaddafi in sand, his face only half blown away - no red Xs here quite yet - and although the TIME issue will not hit newsstands until 5th September, it also acts a metaphor for a country literally deserted by its migrant population and whose political and economic future is very much uncertain, rising out of an autocracy that lasted nearly half a century. What is certain is that the Libyan rebels hope Gaddafi will turn into a distant and forgotten mirage in the Eastern Sahara and this North African Spring can begin a new chapter in its history.
Visit Tim O'Brien's official website for more information about the cover and his own thoughts about the design process behind his work for TIME and other international periodicals.
Images courtesy of Tim O'Brien