Edwin Rosskam: He took this picture in front of kitchenette apartment, Chicago, 1941.

 At first glance, in the center of the picture, a black boy, around 12 years old, with curly hair captures our attention. His eyes, though dimmed with tears, stare with great intensity. This is a cold winter day, but he is not wearing gloves. He just wears two thin layers of clothes: a shirt, and a linen coat. His left hand is on his waist and his right hand is clenched by his side. His right shoulder leans against the icy-cold iron door. The bright sunlight causes him to scowl, and his tight frown seems like a visual sigh. He is looking into the distance, as if pondering about his future, “The school bell is ringing, and I am eager to learn all sorts of knowledge, but because the burden of my family, I have to drop out of school. I have to go to work in advance.” What lies ahead of him in the future? He is just a young boy. How can he labor like an adult? He uses his fragile body, but still cannot afford to put food on the table. Behind him is a black girl with a hat. She is also looking in the same direction, seeing her peers, white girls, frolicking in the distance. How about her? Maybe tomorrow she has to work again. Her future is also so uncertain. Behind this girl, there are many other black children: one boy is looking down at the floor for the passing of his ephemeral youth. Another is looking around and wondering what to do; one is still solemnly looking at the front. They all are lost, and have lost their future.                             –Haizhen Yuan

I painted it after I took a picture. It was a beggar in China. Even though he was poor, he looked very peaceful under the sun. He closed his eyes to relax.

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