Viral image of Kamala Harris created by recent Emory University grad

The art piece features an image of Harris and a silhouette of activist Ruby Bridges as a child

Credit: Bria Goeller and WTF America-Good Trubble

Credit: Bria Goeller and WTF America-Good Trubble

An image of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the child version of activist of Ruby Bridges has been the subject of dozens of social media posts in the last few weeks. The portrait happens to be the work of a recent Emory University graduate.

In the viral image, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, donning a dark suit and heels and clutching a purse, walks alongside a wall with a determined look in her eyes. On the wall, the shadow that is cast of that of a 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, who integrated her New Orleans elementary school in 1960. The piece is an altered version of the popular Norman Rockwell painting of 6-year-old Bridges.

The image has been shared by thousands of folks on social media, including Bridges. The artistic mind behind the piece has recently been revealed to be Bria Goeller, who graduated with highest honors from Emory College of Arts and Sciences in December 2019. She designed the artwork in October for Carl Gordon Jones, founder and owner of the satirical clothing group WTF America-Good Trubble.

“It’s been incredible to watch Gordon’s vision come to life,” Goeller, who answered his charge to create an inspirational image of the two women,” she told Emory University. “He deserved it, he believed in it and he got his dream. I just got lucky to work with him.”

Goeller’s design pairs two Black women who have broken barriers and faced seemingly insurmountable opposition. After the announcement of a winning number of electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden on Nov. 7, the image went from being shared by hundreds to tens of thousands.

Bridges thanked Goeller and Good Trubble “for the inspirational and beautiful artwork.” Tagging Harris and Biden in her post, she wrote, “I am honored to be a part of this path and grateful to stand alongside you, together with our fellow Americans, as we step into this next chapter of American history!”

Goeller said she has been humbled by the positive response to her work. She is now based out of San Francisco.

“It’s an artist’s goal to create something for people who don’t feel heard, and I’m honored to have a platform to do that,” Goeller said in an interview with Emory University. “But the best part, I think, is the mothers and young women reaching out and saying that the image moved them to tears. To know that our work is having that kind of effect is beautiful.”

“I’m grateful that Emory gave me the freedom, the space and the support to carve my own path and become who I wanted, even if it didn’t fit the mold,” she added.

Bridges, coincidentally, is publishing a book, “This is Your Time” as a letter to young people who are looking to make the changes she did as a child. The book was planned well before the viral piece.

“There are lots of kind, good people in the world,” she says. “My family was privileged to be on the receiving end of that.” (Kindness is an act of protest, she recently told People magazine. “Those of us that consider ourselves good, we have to stand up and be counted, so that we all see the good.”