Artist Jade Yasmeen has debuted a stunning portrait of formerly enslaved-person-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Displayed at 2021’s Art Basel at Miami Beach, the 26-year-old creative showcased her undeniable talent while simultaneously raising up “the legacy of those that came before” her. According to the artist, hers is the first hyperrealistic portrait of Harriet Tubman to be painted in full color.
“I chose Harriet as a way to commemorate the past,” Yasmeen explains on Instagram. “Our ancestry is so rich and deserves to be preserved. That’s my goal as an artist.”
The 76-inch by 60-inch oil portrait, titled The Pain Below, comprises meticulous, expressionistic brushstrokes that serve to capture Tubman’s essence. The result is an awe-inspiring portrait that holds the viewer in the intensity of the abolitionist's gaze.
The masterpiece was displayed alongside another impressive portrait by the artist, Mae. The second piece depicts the first African-American woman in space, Mae Jemison. “I’ve always looked up to Mae Jemison as a little girl because I recognized that she pushed the status quo,” Yasmeen shares. “These icons deserve their flowers. Without them, we wouldn’t know how limitless we are.”
Just like the subjects she chooses to depict, Yasmeen inspires through her artwork. More than merely capturing a realistic portrayal of her subjects, she manages to immortalize these moments on the canvas and allow the emotion and truth behind them to speak from her brush. Though they are painted in oil, they somehow manage to come alive.
“We have the power to make anything a reality,” Yasmeen declares. “Anyone who hones in on their innate ability to dream for something beyond their reach is capable of achieving it. It’s possible if we just muster the courage to create it.”
Scroll down to see more of Yasmeen’s captivating oil paintings. Follow the artist on Instagram to keep up with her latest work.