Titus Kaphar created a new painting for the cover of Time magazine’s issue devoted to the George Floyd protests.

Daria Simone Harper
Jun 4, 2020 3:19PM, via Time

Painting by Titus Kaphar for Time magazine. Courtesy Time.

The cover image of Time magazine’s latest issue, “TIME Special Report: Speak Their Names,” features a new painting by artist Titus Kaphar. The new issue features a special report on the nationwide protests brought on by police actions that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th.

Kaphar’s painting depicts a Black mother holding her child, with an expression of anguish on her face. Kaphar cut away the canvas where the form of the child was to highlight the mother’s loss. The iconic red border of Time highlights the names of 35 Black men and women who were killed due to systemic racism, oftentimes by police.

Kaphar wrote in a piece to accompany the painting:

This black mother understands the fire. Black mothers understand despair. I can change nothing in this world, but in paint, I can realize her. That brings me solace … not hope, but solace. She walks me through the flames of rage. My black mother rescues me yet again. I want to be sure that she is seen. I want to be certain that her story is told. And so this time, America must hear her voice.

The painting is typical of Kaphar’s practice, which often involves a combination of classical painting techniques and potent formal interventions like cutting out or adding materials, from tar to glass. In April, the artist joined the roster of one of the world’s most powerful galleries, Gagosian.

Kaphar previously created a painting for Time in 2014 following the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson. The special report issue featuring his new painting on the cover will go on sale tomorrow, June 5th.

Daria Simone Harper