The New Yorker Makes Subtle But Powerful Point About Anti-Asian Violence On New Cover

"The way R. Kikuo Johnson captures this moment and simultaneously breaks my heart," author Jenny Han tweeted of the poignant illustration.
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The New Yorker 鈥檚 new cover has been described as a 鈥済ut-wrenching鈥 and 鈥渉eartbreaking鈥 commentary on the rise of anti-Asian violence in the United States.

Artist R. Kikuo Johnson鈥檚 illustration for the magazine鈥檚 April 5 edition 鈥 titled 鈥淒elayed鈥 鈥 shows a woman and a young girl holding hands on a subway platform, their body language appearing to indicate a sense of unease.

鈥淭he position of the mother鈥檚 feet and eyebrows was what required the most finessing,鈥 Johnson said in an interview with the publication about his artwork. 鈥淚 wanted a gesture that was somewhere between vigilant and fearful.鈥

Johnson said he prepared for the assignment 鈥渂y revisiting news coverage of anti-Asian hate crimes committed during the pandemic.鈥

鈥淎s I absorbed one account after another, they became increasingly difficult to read. So many mothers and grandmothers have been targeted,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 imagined my own mom in that situation. I thought about my grandma and my aunt, who have been among my greatest sources of support. The mother in the drawing is made up of all these women.鈥

In an Instagram post, Johnson wrote that he was 鈥渉umbled by the opportunity鈥 to speak out against anti-Asian violence.

鈥淔or every emotion I felt last week, I tried a different approach to this cover ranging from angry calls to action to celebrations of pride,鈥 he said. 鈥淚n the end, my narrow skillset is one of a storyteller, and out of all the sketches, this image seemed to best capture the moment.鈥

Fans on Twitter hailed his art.

鈥淭he way R. Kikuo Johnson captures this moment and simultaneously breaks my heart,鈥 author Jenny Han tweeted.

Many others agreed:

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