Families don’t Always Look Alike: Inspirational Art


Painting by: Gerard Nifras

Gerard Nifras, Staff Writer

Ducklings following a mother duck is a universal image of the unconditional love of a mother and her children. There are different types of ducks and even more variations in their offspring. There is also a myriad of duck merchandise, especially rubber ducks, of different sizes, colors, and types. Regardless of their differences, all ducks are loved by humans everywhere. It’s a shame that can’t be said about how humans think of each other.

In my art piece, many duck variations are following a single mother. I drew these adorable ducklings with different materials like colored pencils, watercolors, and permanent markers. I even took the advantage of the several ducklings seen in the wild, including the famous Ugly Duckling with gray feathers. Also, the world-famous World’s Largest Rubber Duck makes an appearance, giving a ride for the rubber duck seen in the Disney game franchise, Where’s My Water. 

You could’ve mistaken one of the ducklings for a baby chick, which was done intentionally. In fact, one duckling drawn with just a graphite pencil resembles Donald Duck. With these strikingly different descriptions, there are many ducklings of different kinds. Some may ask whether or not the mother truly considers them her children. The artist confirms that she does as she is shown to oblige the ducklings to follow her.

Behind the surface, I intend this piece to reference modern racial injustice. As stated before, the mother duck in the piece intends for all of the ducklings, her ducklings, to follow her, disregarding their unrelatedness to each other. Differences do not matter, they are still ducks. In a way, she accepts them for what they are, similar to how humans love all ducks. 

However, humans don’t have the same amiability as the mother duck. First impressions are often forged through appearances alone. This is especially true for those of Chinese descent, who were long stigmatized unfairly for “bringing COVID-19 into the US,” as many have insisted. 

The purpose of this piece is to urge its viewers to be accepting of different people, especially those who appear to be victims of a home void of love. Be more accepting like the mother duck in someone’s time of need, especially when people are isolated with the burden of tackling personal issues alone. As humans who love all ducks, they should also love each other, regardless of backgrounds and appearances. In short, all people want is acceptance, to be a part of a tribe, and be accepted for their eccentricities, just like the ducks under one mother.

With this in mind, everyone loves all ducks but not everyone loves all humans. While there are acceptable personal and political exemptions, there are plenty of “ugly ducklings” legitimately yearning for the warm embrace of someone who cares for them. 

From orphans abandoned by parents to victims of racial segregation, they are still humans who want companionship. After all, because all humans crave acceptance, you do too. There are times when people have said “no one listens to me,” “why (not) me,” or “am I good enough.” What better way to receive acceptance than to give it?