‘America Must Change’: The story behind Time’s latest cover artwork
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With each new issue, Time magazine continues to not only capture and thoughtfully reflect on the current cultural moment, but inscribe itself in American art history with its covers.
The venerable newsweekly’s commissioned artworks have over the decades become literal museum pieces—the Smithsonian, for instance, has a large collection—and under current Creative Director D.W. Pine, that distinguished legacy seems certain to continue. See, for instance, the haunting painting by Titus Kaphar that appeared on the cover of the June 15 issue—and now another powerful original work, created by Charly Palmer, that fronts the July 6 edition.
As Pine writes in a note to readers,
For the cover of Time’s July 6 double issue, we commissioned Atlanta artist Charly Palmer to capture a moment in which Americans will see whether their country is able to live up to its promise. The resulting 40-by-30-in. acrylic painting, of a little girl faced with both the injustice of today and America’s historical role in it, is titled “In Her Eyes.”
“In my 60 years on this earth, so much has changed; however all too much has remained the same,” says Palmer, who was born in Fayette, Ala., and went on to study at the American Academy of Art and School of Art Institute in Chicago. “As a Black child of the mid-’60s, my parents did all they could to shield me from the horrors of racism, especially through the unconditional love and vigilant protection of my mother, Irma Walker. They shielded me from the worst of the hate the world had in store for people who look like me. Now, as a man, I am concerned for my own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I worry about the Black community as a whole.”
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This July 4th arrives at a critical moment for what the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen in this issue calls “the alchemical experiment” of the United States. As the country nears its 250th anniversary, it is being tested by an overdue reckoning on police brutality, white supremacy and systemic racism in all its forms, by a relentless pandemic on the rise again, by a deep economic and unemployment crisis, by a President who continually deploys racist language and stokes rather than calms division.
Keep reading here.