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BMA To Display Elijah Cummings' Official Portrait Before It Heads To The Capitol

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Baltimore Museum Art will display the official portrait of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings later this month before the painting is permanently installed at the U.S. Capitol, the museum announced Friday.

Painted by Baltimore artist Jerrell Gibbs, the portrait depicts Cummings in a blue suit holding a gavel in both his hands, inspired by the Justin T. Gellerson photograph on the cover of Cummings' autobiography, "We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy." The painting will be on view from Dec. 22 through Jan. 9.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the lawmaker's wife, said in a statement she partnered with the museum's director, Christopher Bedford, and other curators to commission the work. Two other local artists, Monica Ikegwu and Ernest Shaw, were on the short list to capture Cummings' likeness.

"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," said Rockeymoore Cummings.

The son of sharecroppers, Cummings grew up in Baltimore during the 1950s. At age 11, he was attacked when he and his friends tried to integrate the Riverside Park Pool in South Baltimore.

Cummings went on to attend City College, Howard University and the University of Maryland School of Law. After 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, Cummings won a special election to represent Maryland's 7th congressional district, a seat previously held by Kweisi Mfume, who left to become president and CEO of the NAACP.

Cummings served the district from 1996 until his death in 2019. Mfume is once again the representative for the 7th.

At the start of 2019, Cummings became chair of the House Oversight Committee, and was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump.

"Working on a painting of such great importance meant so much to me. I am extremely honored to have been considered and selected to paint the official portrait of The Honorable Elijah Cummings," said Gibbs.

Details about the portrait's installment in the Capitol building will be announced at a later date, the museum said.

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