Artist Titus Kaphar’s painting “Analogous Colors” (2020) on the cover of TIME magazine (courtesy of TIME)

A painting of a grieving Black mother by artist Titus Kaphar will adorn the cover of the upcoming issue of TIME magazine, which will be available in print on June 15.

The classic TIME red border framing the painting will include the names of 35 American Black men and women who have lost their lives at the hands of police and racist vigilantes.

Titled “Analogous Colors,” the painting depicts a sorrowful mother holding her child. Kaphar cut out the canvas, leaving a hollowed-out silhouette of the child to show the mother’s loss.

“In her expression, I see the black mothers who are unseen, and rendered helpless in this fury against their babies,” Kaphar wrote about the protagonist of his painting in a poem accompanying the painting. He continued:

As I listlessly wade through another cycle of violence against Black people,

I paint a Black mother…

eyes closed,

furrowed brow,

holding the contour of her loss.

George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who was slain by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, called out to his deceased mother while struggling to breathe under the officer’s knee for nearly nine minutes.

Floyd’s mother, Larcenia Floyd, died in May of 2018.

In his poem, Kaphar continued:

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.

This time

America must believe her.

Kaphar, an internationally acclaimed artist, had created another cover for TIME in 2014 to mark the protests in Ferguson against the killing of Black teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Titled “Yet Another Fight for Remembrance” (2014), the painting featured Black protestors, arms in the air, covered with brushstrokes of white paint, a technique that Kaphar has used in other works.

“One Black mother’s loss WILL be memorialized,” Kaphar wrote in his essay. “This time I will not let her go.”

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...