Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), seen here at the National Press Club in D.C. on Aug 7, 2019 (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), seen here at the National Press Club in D.C. on Aug 7, 2019 (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, widow of former U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, and the Baltimore Museum of Art announced Friday that the official portrait of the lawmaker will be unveiled at the museum on Dec. 21.

The portrait was commissioned by Rockeymoore Cummings in March and painted by Jerrell Gibbs, a Baltimore-based artist that specializes in portraying Black life. The portrait will be on public view at the museum from Dec. 22 to Jan. 9, before it is permanently installed in the U.S. Capitol.

Additional details about the U.S. Capitol display will be announced at a later date, the museum said in a statement.

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

A portrait of Elijah Cummings, painted by Baltimore artist Jerrell Gibbs (Courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art)

Cummings, a Baltimore native, graduated from City College High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Howard University and his juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. He practiced law in Baltimore and ultimately was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.

He served in the House of Delegates from 1983 to 1996.

Cummings represented much of Baltimore City and some of the surrounding area in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2019. He was the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform when he died on Oct. 17, 2019.

He was the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

“Working on a painting of such great importance meant so much to me,” said Gibbs, who received a $75,000 financial award for his work. “This experience has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will forever cherish this monumental moment. I hope I made Elijah proud.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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