News & Politics

Breonna Taylor’s Portrait Is Now on Display at the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum

The famous portrait of Breonna Taylor now has a new (temporary) home at the National African American History and Culture Museum. Renowned artist Amy Sherald, who also painted the official portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, painted the portrait of Taylor that features her in a blue gown against a blueish-green background.

The painting first gained popularity after appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair’s September 2020 issue, which also featured a cover story by award-winning author and newly-appointed Howard faculty member Ta-Nehisi Coates that retold the story of Taylor’s life and death through the perspective of her mother.

Taylor’s portrait is a part of the museum’s new “Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.” exhibit that documents the struggles Black Americans face in their fight for Constitutional rights and freedoms and explores the intersection of art and social justice. The exhibit also features 27 images and artwork by several Black visual artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Shuan Leonardo, and Bisa Butler. 

Here is some of the artwork featured in the exhibit:

“Walking” by Charles Henry Alston (1958). Photo courtesy of Jason Spear (Smithsonian).
“I Can’t Breathe (Water Table)” by Torkwase Dyson (2018). Photo courtesy of Jason Spear (Smithsonian).
“The Man Nobody Killed” by David Hammons (1986). Photo courtesy of Jason Spear (Smithsonian).



Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.