Baltimore, MD

Official portrait of late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings on view at the BMA before heading to U.S. Capitol

Kaleah Mcilwain
(Anne Brown/BMA)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) have unveiled the official portrait of the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, which will be on view from today until January 9, 2022.

The portrait commissioned by Baltimore-based artist, Jerrell Gibbs, will then be on permanent installation at the U.S. Capitol.

“In life Elijah and I enjoyed supporting the diversity of artists and events hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is providence that I was able to bring Elijah’s official portrait to life in partnership with the BMA’s transformational leader Christopher Bedford and his team of world-class experts, as well as community arts leaders and wonderfully supportive donors,” said the late Congressman's wife Rockeymoore Cummings in a news release.

“We are exceedingly pleased with the result. Jerrell Gibbs is a masterfully expressive painter, and his stunning portrait perfectly captures Elijah’s essence and majesty. It is a timeless masterpiece.”

The portrait was commissioned by Rockeymoore Cummings in March 2021 and painted by Gibbs, who is recognized for his evocative portraits of Black life and identity. He was selected from a short list of three Baltimore-based artists that also included Monica Ikegwu and Ernest Shaw, following a multi-phase process led by Rockeymoore Cummings and a selection committee of BMA and local community leaders.

Cummings served for 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he became the first African American to be named speaker pro tem, before running for Congress in 1996.There he served in the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the people of Maryland’s 7th congressional district.

With Cummings lifelong commitment to Baltimore, it was essential that his portrait be created by an artist that represented the rich cultural fabric of the city and the incredible creative contributions of Black artists.

Additional details about the Washington, DC display will be announced at a later date.

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Baltimore, MD

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