Subtlety hits hard

Compared to some of his previous ones, the latest New Yorker cover by regular contributor R. Kikuo Johnson may more subtle and subdued, but it also proves to be more poignant than ever. By simply isolating an Asian woman and a girl –presumably her daughter– in these times of pandemic and xenophobia, he creates a harrowing atmosphere of paranoia that only recently turned out to be far from imaginary.

Johnson divides his image into three bands, one with the black of the subway track, another with an ominous grey descending upon the two characters, who are left with a narrow strip of light in the middle, hardly high enough to stand upright in. It is a subtle image that could elude anybody who is not aware of current events, but that hits only harder when you get it. Let’s hope it will require extensive bylines for future generations…

(illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson, © 2021 Condé Nast. Used for journalistic purposes)

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1 Response to Subtlety hits hard

  1. Pingback: The New Yorker – This isnt happiness

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