Born in Columbus, Georgia, and now based in the New York City area, Amy Sherald documents contemporary African American experience in the United States through arresting, intimate portraits. Sherald engages with the history of photography and portraiture, inviting viewers to participate in a more complex debate about accepted notions of race and representation, and to situate Black heritage centrally in American art.
Sherald received her MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and BA in painting from Clark-Atlanta University. Sherald was the first woman and first African-American to ever receive the grand prize in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., she also received the 2017 Anonymous Was A Woman award and the 2019 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award. In 2018, Sherald was selected by First Lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait as an official commission for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Sherald’s work is held in public collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Embassy of the United States, Dakar, Senegal; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC; Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC.