A photo of a little girl standing awestruck in front of Michelle Obama's official White House portrait captured the internet's heart this week with many calling the candid photo another important reminder of why representation matters. Captured by tourist Ben Hines, the photo features two-year-old Parker Curry staring in wonder at Amy Sherald's depiction of the former First Lady. Since Hines posted it on his Facebook, the image has been shared over 25,000 times and captured the attention of Sherald herself.
Parker's mom Jessica told Buzzfeed that she had brought Parker and her one-year-old sister Ava to the National Portrait Gallery Thursday to see both Michelle and Barack Obama's portraits. She said she kept trying to get Parker to turn around so she could take a photo of her daughter in front of the artwork, but Parker, fascinated, wouldn't cooperate.
"She had a little moment," Jessica told the outlet. "In the world we live in today, I'm just trying to raise a little girl who has opportunities to see women who look like her doing great things."
That message seems to have struck a chord with many. In her repost of the photo, Sherald wrote of the elementary school trip to a museum when she first saw a painting of a Black man.
"I don't remember a lot about my childhood, but I do have a few emotional memories etched into my mind forever and seeing that painting of a man that looked like he could be my father stopped me dead in my tracks," she said. "I knew I wanted to be an artist already, but seeing that painting made me realize that I could."
Others took to social media to share their appreciation of Hines' photo.
In the official unveiling of the portraits last month, Michelle Obama spoke of a moment in the future when she hoped that her portrait would be able to inspire the next generation of leaders.
"I'm also thinking about all of the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who, in years ahead, will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution," she said at the ceremony. "I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls and, when I think about those future generations and generations past, I think, again, wow. Wow, what an incredible journey we are on together in this country. We have come so far."
Cover image via White House / Amanda Lucidon