Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Zadie Smith ‘honoured’ to be drawn for exhibition celebrating people of colour

Zadie Smith has said it was an honour to be drawn as part of the exhibition Icons Of Colour: Portraits of Brent’s Change Makers exhibition.
Zadie Smith has said it was an honour to be drawn as part of the exhibition Icons Of Colour: Portraits of Brent’s Change Makers exhibition.

Zadie Smith has said it was an honour to be drawn as part of an exhibition called Icons Of Colour: Portraits of Brent’s Change Makers.

A portrait of the writer, 46, was drawn by Nigerian-born artist Toyin Ojih Odutola as part of a new display commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) celebrating inspirational people of colour.

The artwork, which used pastel, charcoal, pencil and graphite, will be displayed from December 16 in Smith’s home borough at the Brent Museum and Archives.

Smith said: “It’s a remarkable experience to be drawn by an artist as brilliant as Toyin Ojih Odutola. I can’t say it was a collaboration – I just sat there – but it was an honour.

“She put Willesden behind me and palm fronds around me so I feel very at home. And she gave me better shoes than I own, for which I am grateful.”

Along with the full-length portrait, titled Sadie, the new exhibition also showcases the activist, actor and musician Riz Ahmed and England footballer Raheem Sterling.

Smith is drawn in a relaxed pose, with her hair natural, with shapes and shadows evoking palm trees – which reference Smith’s Jamaican heritage – and a large map of her home town in North-west London in the background.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “We are delighted to have commissioned this beautiful and monumental new portrait of one of the greatest literary voices of our time by one of the most innovative and exciting artists working today.

“It also represents another significant step in our ongoing commitment to increase the representation of women and black sitters and artists within our collection.

“We are therefore thrilled that this is the first work by Toyin Ojih Odutola to enter a British public collection.

“We are also pleased to be able to display the work in Brent as part of our plans to share hundreds of portraits across the UK while the gallery is closed for this redevelopment, and look forward to its return to a transformed National Portrait Gallery in 2023.”

Smith became a household name with the publication of her award-winning first novel, White Teeth, and her first play, The Wife of Willesden.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]