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, who turned 16 in July, 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. She 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,
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.
Apart from Royalty, not many teenagers get their portrait shown in the National Portrait Gallery, or indeed have a portrait at all. Malala Yousafzai said,
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.
More information about the Malala Fund can be found at www.malalafund.org
Girl Reading (Malala Yousafzai) by Jonathan Yeo
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.