This portrait of Beyoncé will be immortalised at the Smithsonian

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A photo of Beyoncé has been chosen to be put on display as part of a permanent art exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday (August 7), photographer Tyler Mitchell revealed on Instagram that a portrait he had taken of the pop star for Vogue’s September 2018 issue was being acquired by the museum. The photograph will be added to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery collection, alongside shots of other American icons such as Barack Obama and Rosa Parks.


“A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection,” Mitchell wrote on the ‘gram. 

The 24-year-old made headlines last year when he became the first African-American photographer – and the youngest – to shoot a cover for Vogue. The iconic image, which captures Bey in a gold sequin Valentino dress and a Philip Treacy headpiece, was featured in an eight-page editorial spread. In an accompanying interview, Beyoncé said she had personally handpicked Mitchell to photograph her. 

“When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly, that has been proven a myth,” she told Vogue. “Not only is an African-American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, [but] this is [also] the first-ever Vogue cover shot by an African-American photographer.”

She added, “It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists.”

In a statement to CNN, associate curator of photographs at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Leslie Ureña said the institution was “delighted” to have Bey grace its walls.

Beyoncé has had a busy year so far: the singer recently starred in Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King and dropped the album, ‘The Lion King: The King’. She also released Homecoming, a Netflix film that documents her historic headlining Coachella performance in 2018.