This image is the cover of this week’s New Yorker Magazine — by artist and children’s book creator Kadir Nelson. It’s almost unbearably ironic that this issue comes out during a week of highly publicized, video-recorded, social-media plastered images of black men killed by the police with apparently little or no justifications and five policemen gunned down by an irate sniper at a peaceful rally for racial equality. I saw this image posted by friends on facebook and read some of the comments beneath this picture and found out how differently this picture could be interpreted by different viewers. Someone thought that the father in the picture feels desolation and is not having a fun day at the beach; while others see this as family and harmony. Someone questioned why there are clouds reflected in the sunglasses, and I immediately thought that the comment maker was criticizing the image. This showed how I presumed and assumed others’ intents and how I definitely need to change the way I post on social media to build understanding and not alienation. The comment maker wrote back to say that there might be a “hidden message” in those reflections and I can see that now — and have started to wonder, what do those clouds reflected in his sunglasses mean?
Art is like that.
So many possible interpretations. I have a few thoughts in mind — what are yours?