Breonna Taylor’s memory continues to live on and a portrait of her is now hanging in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture as part of a celebration to mark the museum’s fifth anniversary. The portrait made its debut on Friday, Sept. 10 as an ensemble of the museum’s new exhibition “Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.”
Located in the museum’s Visual Art and the American Experience space, the exhibition explores the Black Lives Matter movement, violence against African Americans, and how art depicts Black resistance, resilience, and protest. The newly acquired portrait of Breonna Taylor was painted by renowned artist and Clark-Atlanta University alumna, Amy Sherald, who previously painted a stunning mural of Michelle Obama. The painting will be on display until May 2022 and is buttressed by 27 newly exhibited images and artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sheila Pree Bright, Bisa Butler, Shaun Leonardo, David Hammons, and many more.
“I think it is a really important moment. Our fifth anniversary is a chance to look back, look ahead and look around, a chance to honor the moment we are in,” the museum’s director Kevin Young told The Washington Post.
Sherald’s portrait of Taylor features the slain emergency medical technician wearing a turquoise dress and the engagement ring that her boyfriend Kenneth Walker planned to purpose to her with before her death. The painting was featured on the Sept. 2020 cover of Vanity Fair Magazine as well.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture revealed that they and the Speed Museum in Louisville purchased the painting from Sherald, who plans to donate proceeds from the art piece to social justice causes.
Taylor was fatally shot on March 13, 2020, when officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove burst through her door with a no-knock narcotics warrant wearing plain clothes. She and her boyfriend, Kenneth L. Walker, were sleep when police arrived and knocked down the door. All charges against Walker were dropped in March and no-knock warrants have been banned in Louisville as well. The officers fired a total of 32 shots into Taylor’s apartment.