Amy Sherald in her studio, 2020. Photo: Joseph Hyde

Amy Sherald Paints Breonna Taylor for the Cover of Vanity Fair's September 2020 Issue

24 August 2020

Guest edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the issue explores art, activism, and power in 21st century America. The project features the work of more than 40 prominent writers, photographers, artists, and activists, including some of the most influential Black voices of our time.

‘I made this portrait for her family... Producing this image keeps Breonna alive forever.’— Amy Sherald

The portrait of Breonna Taylor for this historic cover of Vanity Fair marks the second time in Amy Sherald's career that she has created a commissioned work, following her painting of Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018. Renowned for her documentation of the contemporary Black experience, the artist describes the cover as ‘a contribution to the moment and to activism.’ On creating the work, Amy Sherald explained ‘I made this portrait for her family. I mean, of course I made it for Vanity Fair, but the whole time I was thinking about her family. Producing this image keeps Breonna alive forever.’ In the cover story, 'A Beautiful Life,' guest editor and author Ta-Nehisi Coates writes the story of Breonna Taylor’s life and tragic murder at the hands of police through the eyes and voice of her mother, Tamika Palmer. Having spent time and conducted interviews with Palmer in Louisville, Coates ‘retells Taylor’s story in a way that only a mother can.’ Amy Sherald also did a Q & A with Vanity Fair writer Mike Pope to discuss her creative process. Read 'Behind-the-cover with Amy Sherald'.

Courtesy: Amy Sherald/Vanity Fair

- In addition to the magazine, Vanity Fair has also launched a September issue hub on, showcasing the work of all the contributors. The issue is on newsstands September 1st.