Harvard University acquires portrait of Amanda Gorman for the permanent collection

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Harvard University acquires portrait of Amanda Gorman for the permanent collection
Raphael Adjetey Adjei Mayne, Amanda Gorman, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 175 x 146 cm / 68.9 x 57.5 in. Photo: Courtesy the artist & Destinee Ross-Sutton 2021.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- In time for the celebration of Black History Month/Black Futures Month, Harvard University has acquired a portrait of Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman for their permanent collection.

Rising Ghanaian artist, Raphael Adjetey Adjei Mayne, painted the work inspired by Gorman’s inaugural poem delivered on January 20th, 2021.

A graduate of the Ghanatta College of Art and Design, Raphael Adjetey Adjei Mayne’s work is a visceral assemblage of diverse facets of Ghanaian and African sociocultural experiences evoking political, emotional and practically psychoanalytical connections and cut-aways weaving private and public space realities unbound by time.

The acquisition was made possible through the generous support by women’s rights and LGBT+ rights activist Amar Singh who donated the painting to Harvard University stating “This work must be in an Institution, it is a celebration of women, a celebration of Black women, a celebration of hope. It is especially meaningful to donate it to Harvard as that is Amanda Gorman’s Alma Mater.” Singh, a member of the erstwhile Kapurthala Royal Family of India, through his activism helped legalize homosexuality in India and has highlighted women’s rights issues throughout the country.

Singh acquired the work from celebrated curator Destinee Ross-Sutton via her newly opened Ross-Sutton Gallery, a space dedicated to primarily Black artists and the underrepresented. Ross-Sutton told artnet news in 2020 “In the many instances where others attempt to deny us simple pleasures, we are encouraged to deny ourselves.” Ross-Sutton’s current exhibition “BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind” which features the work of Raphael Adjetey Adjei Mayne, celebrates images of Black figures through rest, wellness, self-love and introspection.

At Harvard University the work will be housed at the Hutchins Center, headed by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., another champion of Black artists and voices who along with his teaching hosts PBS’ Finding Your Roots and appeared in recent documentaries The 13th and John Lewis: Good Trouble.

The exhibition “BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind” is still up on the Vortic Collect app until March 2, 2021, all throughout Black History Month

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