In 2016, Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald (b. 1973, Columbus, Ga.), known for her stylized, archetypal portrayals of African Americans, became the first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s prestigious Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Her work is included in several museum collections and will be the subject of an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis this spring.
Shortly after earning a Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004, Sherald was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She underwent a transplant eight years later and continued to make art during her recovery. A personification of resilience herself, Sherald conveys the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses. She frequently cites her fascination with portraiture’s ability to draw attention to individuals. She recently joined the board of directors at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Photo courtesy of Amy Sherald