In the words of artist Amy Sherald, “Producing this image keeps Breonna alive forever.”
The image the painter is referring to is that of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was fatally shot by police inside her Kentucky home in March, and the one commissioned by Vanity Fair for the monumental cover of its September issue, which is titled “The Great Fire.”
Revealed on Monday, Aug. 24, the issue’s cover features Sherald’s painting of Taylor, in which she is standing alone with one hand on her hip and donning a blue dress against a blue backdrop. As Sherald explains to Vanity Fair, the shade is inspired by aquamarine, the birthstone for March. Around her neck hangs a gold cross on a chain. On her left hand, another subtle, but heartbreaking piece of jewelry can be found: an engagement ring, representing the one Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was planning to propose with.
“In the beginning, they were just friends,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, says in the issue. “Even before they got into a relationship, Kenny would say, ‘I’m going to marry her.’ I’d be like, ‘Be careful what you wish for, Kenny.’ I want to say they were together about five years. They had talked about having a baby at some point. And she had just recently started saying, Yeah, I think I’m almost ready. I just want to get a house first and then go from there. Because that was the next thing. She got her Charger. And next was the house.”