National Portrait Gallery Presents JONATHAN YEO Exhibit
A previously unseen portrait of the education activist Malala Yousafzai will go on show in a new display of work by Jonathan Yeo opening at the National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday 11 September 2013.
Jonathan Yeo Portraits (11 September 2013 - 5 January 2014) will feature several previously unexhibited portraits of well known figures, including Damien Hirst and Kevin Spacey, as well as the first painted portrait of Malala Yousafzai. The portrait, measuring just less than one metre in height, is larger than life-size, and shows the young campaigner, now 16 years old, doing her homework.
Malala suffered from a severe head injury after being attacked and shot by the Taliban as she travelled home from school in Pakistan on 9 October 2012, following her campaign for girls to have the right to study and attend school in her country. Malala now lives in the UK, where she has been treated for her injuries, and has recently been awarded the International Children's Peace Prize for her inspirational work and courage. The Malala Fund, led by Malala herself, has been established to support the fight for girls' rights to education. After being displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, Yeo's portrait of Malala will be sold to raise money for the Fund.
Yeo first met Malala and her family in April 2013, when she had just started school in a new country, and was still recovering from her life-threatening injuries.
Jonathan Yeo says: 'It was a great privilege to spend some time with Malala and her family at such a pivotal moment in her life. Given how much she has already been through and all that she represents to the world, it took a while to adjust to the fact that she is still a very fragile teenager. Hopefully the painting reflects the slight paradox of representing someone with enormous power and wisdom yet vulnerability and youth at the same time.
'I believe she will continue to be a hugely influential figure for a very long time to come. It's an honour to support her fund and to paint a portrait of one of the most inspiring figures of our age.'
Malala Yousafzai says: 'I am honoured that the National Portrait Gallery should wish to hang my picture and touched that Jonathan asked to paint me. I think that he has really captured me in the image. Jonathan has been extremely kind in donating the portrait to The Malala Fund and it is wonderful to know that many children will ultimately be able to benefit from the money raised from its sale.'
Jonathan Yeo Portraits, the National Portrait Gallery's first display dedicated to the artist's work, will include innovative portraits - all produced from life - of some of today's leading cultural, media and political figures, many of whom sat for portraits for the first time with Yeo. The display will present an overview of the artist's work to date, beginning with the drawings he made of the party leaders on the 2001 general election campaign trail, and including private studies of his family and portraits of well known figures such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch, model Erin O'Connor, artist Grayson Perry and actress Sienna Miller.
Sir Michael Parkinson by Jonathan Yeo © National Portrait Gallery, London; Damien Hirst by Jonathan Yeo © Jonathan Yeoand Erin by Jonathan Yeo © Jonathan Yeo
Jonathan Yeo is one of the most highly-regarded portrait painters working in Britain today. Yeo is a regular exhibitor in the National Portrait Gallery's BP Portrait Award and in 2010 he was commissioned by the Gallery to paint a portrait of broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson.
Jonathan Yeo Portraits is curated by the National Portrait Gallery's Contemporary Curator, Sarah Howgate, whose exhibitions include the highly successful Lucian Freud Portraits (2012) and David Hockney Portraits (2006). The exhibition, supported by the David Ross Foundation, The Tony Banks Memorial Trust and ICAP Charity Day, is in the Contemporary Collection displays on the Ground Floor Lerner Galleries, National Portrait Gallery, London, 11 September 2013-5 January 2014. Admission free.
A new fully-illustrated book The Many Faces Of Jonathan Yeo with texts by Martin Gayford and Sarah Howgate, will be published by Art / Books in Oct 2013. With contributions from Damien Hirst, Tim Marlow, Philip Mould, Giles Coren, Shebah Ronay and Michael Parkinson it is available at £24.95 hardback.
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