Maya Angelou Painting Installed in National Portrait Gallery
The portrait, painted by Bulgarian-born, Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin, is an oil-on-canvas painting and was completed in 2013 in honor of Angelou’s 86th birthday.
Angelou was present for the unveiling in April and was surrounded by family and friends.
“She was able to share with us her thoughts about life and about her life, and she reminded everyone to always have patience and to listen,” said Dorothy Moss, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery. “This portrait reflects that warmth and spirit, and it looks as if she’s in conversation with us. It looks as if she’s listening to us.”
Johnnetta B. Cole, a friend of Angelou’s and director of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, was at the installation and remembered how special it was to attend the unveiling.
“She was here in the fullness of her creative voice, in the most eloquent expressions of her humanity,” Cole said. “Today, she is not here physically, but this is the power of portraiture: In a sense she is here. She will always be there. Some of the 30 million visitors to the Smithsonian every year will be able to visit with Dr. Maya. I’m so glad she is here.”
The painting will be on view through June 12 in the first floor gallery.