National Portrait Gallery opens its ‘Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees’ exhibition

“AVA” by Kenturah Davis, oil stamp on kozo paper, 2022. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired in part through the generosity of Agnes Gund. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

“José Andrés and the Olla de Barro that Feeds the World” by Kadir Nelson, oil on linen, 2022. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired through the generosity of Teresa Carlson and André Pienaar; Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg’s The Hearthland Foundation; Cheryl and Ron Howard; Patty Stonesifer and Michael Kinsley; The Wilder Family. Copyright 2022 Kadir Nelson. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

“Venus Williams, Double Portrait” by Robert Pruitt, conté crayon , charcoal, pastel and coff ee wash on paper, 2022. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired in part through the generosity of Mark D. Ein . Copyright 2022 Robert Pruitt. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

Serena. Artist: Toyin Ojih Odutola. Pastel, charcoal, and graphite on paper 2022 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired through the generosity of NIKE, Inc. Additional support provided by Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol; Esusu Financial, Inc. – Wemimo Abbey & Samir Goel; Osagie & Losenge Imasogie; Madison Ruby Wilbour. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

Marian Wright Edelman. Artist: Ruven Afanador Inkjet print. 2013 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © 2013 Ruven Afanador. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

Clive Davis, May 23rd. Artist: David Hockney Acrylic on canvas 2022. Courtesy of the artist. © 2022 David Hockney. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

A Portrait of Dr. Anthony Fauci . Artist: Hugo Crosthwaite. Graphite and charcoal on paper. 2022. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired through the generosity of Anonymous; Michael Hollander; Walter and Patricia Moore. (Courtesy Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery)

A Portrait of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Artist: Hugo Crosthwaite. Graphite and charcoal on paper. 2022. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired through the generosity of Anonymous; Michael Hollander; Walter and Patricia Moore.

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The National Portrait Gallery opened its “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” exhibition on Thursday, displaying the seven recipients of the Smithsonian’s 2022 Portrait of a Nation Awards.

Included are portraits of Serena and Venus Williams, Ava DuVernay, José Andrés, Clive Davis, Anthony Fauci and Marian Wright Edelman. The exhibition debuts six recently-commissioned works, and a never-before-shown photograph by an artist, according to a news release.



The “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” will be on view on the gallery’s first floor through Oct. 22, 2023. Admission is free.

The exhibition includes a oil-on-linen painting by Kadir Nelson called “José Andrés and the Olla de Barro that Feeds the World,” which describes the Spanish chef and humanitarian. The award-winning music producer Davis is depicted with a unique commission by British artist David Hockney.

Artist Kenturah Davis, who is based in California, did her work on paper on DuVernay, featuring a sophisticated illustration of the famous filmmaker. The portrait of Fauci was created by artist Hugo Crosthwaite.

The commissioned portraits of the Williams sisters was created by artists Toyin Ojih Odutola and Robert Pruitt. Odutola’s drawing is a close-up of Serena Williams’ optimism and strength, and Pruitt’s portrait of Venus Williams is entrenched with symbolism, the news release said.

“Since 2001, the museum has collected portraits of living sitters and continues to expand its work with contemporary artists,” Rhea L. Combs, director of curatorial affairs, said in a statement. “We are incredibly fortunate that these artists have agreed to work with the museum to contribute to the visual history of our nation while celebrating this year’s Portrait of a Nation honorees.”

The exhibition has the black-and-white photograph of Edelman, which was created by artist Ruven Afanador. It depicts the civil rights and children’s rights activist having a necklace with portraits of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.

According to the news release, the 2022 honorees will be presented with their awards at the Portrait of a Nation Gala on Saturday.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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