38 episodes

Art, biography, history and identity collide in this podcast from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Join Director Kim Sajet as she chats with artists, historians, and thought leaders about the big and small ways that portraits shape our world.

PORTRAITS National Portrait Gallery

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 145 Ratings

Art, biography, history and identity collide in this podcast from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Join Director Kim Sajet as she chats with artists, historians, and thought leaders about the big and small ways that portraits shape our world.

    Dolores Huerta: Yes She Did!

    Dolores Huerta: Yes She Did!

    Grassroots organizer Dolores Huerta talks to Kim about her first encounter with the deep poverty of California farmworkers in the 1950s, and how she took on the status quo (in a wrinkled sweater) during the landmark Delano Grape Strike. All the time, she fought on two fronts: resisting exploitation and also resisting sexism, sometimes from within the very labor movement she helped to launch.

    See the portraits we discuss:

    Huerta with ‘Huelga’ Sign

    Huerta at Delano Grape Strike

    Huerta with Fred Ross

    Huerta by Barbara Carrasco

    Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes

    • 24 min
    Season 4 Trailer

    Season 4 Trailer

    Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, examines the stories of people who say “No” to the status quo. Guests this season include Dolores Huerta, who fought chauvinism within the very farmworkers movement she helped to launch, plus chef José Andrés, who has been building resilience “one meal at a time” in battle zones and areas struck by natural disaster. Tune in starting May 17.

    • 1 min
    Yesterday's Disruptors... Today

    Yesterday's Disruptors... Today

    Since it was founded over a long lunch in Boston in 1857, The Atlantic has featured presidents and poets, abolitionists and suffragists— men and women set on advancing The American Idea. This episode, Kim takes the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, on an ‘Atlantic alumni’ tour, stopping in front of a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. and a life-size painting of Mark Twain.

    Their conversation previews an upcoming collaboration between The Atlantic and the National Portrait Gallery that will look at the portraits of yesterday’s disruptors through the lens of today.

    See the portraits we discuss:

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Julia Ward Howe

    Mark Twain

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    • 25 min
    Un-forgetting History

    Un-forgetting History

    After having to destroy her family pictures during the Cultural Revolution in China, artist Hung Liu treasures old photographs all the more. In fact, they’re foundational to her work. She has described her portraits like a memorial site for people forgotten to history-- comfort women, farm workers, refugees.

    As the Gallery launches a retrospective of her artwork, we trace Hung's life through some of the images she's collected and created, from her rendering of a resident alien card in which she renames herself 'Fortune Cookie,' to her painting commemorating the violent Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    See the images we discuss:

    https://npg.si.edu/podcasts/Un-forgetting%20History

    • 27 min
    BONUS: Who Was Pocahontas Really?

    BONUS: Who Was Pocahontas Really?

    These last few weeks brought jolting discoveries at residential schools in Canada— unmarked grave sites thought to contain the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children who went missing. The news was a visceral reminder that systemic racism and discrimination can literally bury the past.

    So we decided to revisit an episode about a woman who— unlike so many Indigenous people of her time— was celebrated by Colonial America, and actually had a portrait done: Pocahontas.

    Curator and author Paul Chaat Smith sifts through what we know, and what we think we know, about this iconic figure.

    See the portraits we discussed:

    Pocahontas, painting

    Pocahontas, engraving

    • 23 min
    Ellen Stofan Sees Stars Here On Earth

    Ellen Stofan Sees Stars Here On Earth

    Dr. Ellen Stofan is a planetary geologist who has spent a lot of time looking up at the stars and thinking about life outside our planet. But in this episode, she talks with Kim about the portraits of some of her favorite earth dwellers. Among the trailblazers she highlights: a judge who fought for women's rights and a marine biologist who challenged the way we see ourselves in relation to the natural world.


    See the portraits:

    Rachel Carson and the Blue Marble Shot

    The Four Justices

    Althea Gibson

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
145 Ratings

145 Ratings

margofaz ,

Interesting and well done

Wonderful topics, interesting guests and hosts and an all around great podcast.

Happyhamster66 ,

Great podcast

I really love this podcast - interesting, fun, great guests and great presenter

docentjt ,

Always interesting

My favorite podcast, with a lively and engaging host and fascinating stories and fact in each episode.

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