ENVISIONING NEW YORK IN THE FALL, Kadir Nelson‘s latest cover illustration for The New Yorker magazine depicts a father and daughter sitting on the stoop of a Brooklyn brownstone.

“Sitting on the stoop is such a New York thing,” Nelson told Françoise Mouly, art editor of The New Yorker. “Brownstones, stoops, leaves turning: that’s fall in New York, and I was also thinking about all the sweet moments I’ve had with my daughters.”

“Brownstones, stoops, leaves turning: that’s fall in New York, and I was also thinking about all the sweet moments I’ve had with my daughters.”
— Kadir Nelson

The Los Angeles-based artist said he has “fond memories” of Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood from his time at Pratt Institute where he earned his BFA in 1996.

Titled “Generations,” Nelson’s painting for the Oct. 2 issue of The New Yorker features a pristine Brooklyn stoop recalling The Cosby Show brownstone. Nelson’s subjects appear to be posing. The father in the image is plucked from the civil rights era. Wearing a hat and shirt sleeves, his face bears a brave but wary expression. His daughter is a mighty little spark plug, donning her school uniform and clutching tightly the straps of her backpack. She appears to be bracing herself for the promise and opportunity of a new school year.

Ultimately, by placing a heart on the little girl’s lunch bag, Nelson conveys a message of love and security as the two generations take a moment standing in the gap between the comfort of home and an increasingly unpredictable world.

Nelson’s first cover illustration for The New Yorker was an image of Nelson Mandela created in December 2014. A few months ago, the artist covered the July 3 issue of the magazine with “Bright Star,” an all-American backyard pool image featuring a young girl with a red beach ball and blue bathing suit emblazoned with stars. CT


Kadir Nelson has illustrated a number of children’s books including the recently published ‘Blue Sky White Stars.” A recipient of Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards, his earlier books include “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans,” “Nelson Mandela,” “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” and “I Have a Dream,” which illustrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech.


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