Visual arts

The National Portrait Gallery announces “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees”, an exhibition of recently commissioned portraits, which will open on November 10

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” on November 10, featuring the museum’s seven winners of the 2022 Portrait of a Nation awards. The exhibit includes newly acquired portraits of award winners José Andrés, Clive Davis, Ava DuVernay, Marian Wright Edelman, Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams. The exhibition features six newly commissioned works and one never-before-seen photograph, each by a highly acclaimed contemporary artist. “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Laureates” will be on view on the first floor of the museum until October 22, 2023. Admission is free. “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” is generously supported by NIKE Inc.

“Since 2001, the museum has collected portraits of living people and continues to expand its work with contemporary artists,” said Rhea L. Combs, director of curatorial affairs. “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 winners.”

“Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” will feature for the first time a new oil on linen painting by Kadir Nelson (b. 1974) entitled “José Andrés and the Olla de Barro who feeds the world”, which depicts the famous culinary entrepreneur and humanitarian. Davis, award-winning producer and music industry executive, will be represented by a rare commission from British artist David Hockney (b. 1937), who has only accepted one other painting commission in his accomplished career. . Davis’ acrylic-on-canvas portrait is the first painting by Hockney to enter the Portrait Gallery’s collection. A new work on paper by Californian artist Kenturah Davis (b. 1984) presents an intricate depiction of filmmaker DuVernay, whose interest in moving images and writing is highlighted by the stamping technique of the ‘artist.

The Portrait Gallery also commissioned a portrait of public health expert Fauci from artist Hugo Crosthwaite (b. 1971), winner of the first prize in the Portrait Gallery’s 2019 Outwin Boocher portrait competition. The resulting work is composed of a stop-motion drawing animation and a suite of 19 drawings on paper, seven of which will be exhibited. Newly commissioned portraits of tennis champions and entrepreneurs Serena Williams and Venus Williams, by New York artists Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985) and Robert Pruitt (b. 1975), respectively, will premiere as part of the ‘exposure. Both are works on paper; Odutola’s drawing offers a close-up of Serena Williams’ strength and optimism, while Pruitt’s life-size double portrait of Venus Williams is steeped in symbolism. “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” will also feature Edelman’s black-and-white photography by Colombian artist Ruven Afanador (b. 1959). The likeness shows the civil rights and children’s rights activist wearing a necklace with portraits of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.

The newly acquired works contribute to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection of over 23,000 objects and its history of collaboration with contemporary artists. The exhibition “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” is organized by Combs in collaboration with Taína Caragol, curator of painting, sculpture and Latinx art and history, and Leslie Ureña, curator of photographs.

Established in 2015, the Portrait of a Nation Awards honor extraordinary individuals who have made transformative contributions to the United States and its people in all walks of life. The 2022 winners will receive their awards at the Portrait of a Nation gala on November 12. For more information, visit

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted history of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the story of the nation.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G Streets NW, Washington, DC Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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