After three years of renovation, London’s prestigious National Portrait Gallery reopened its doors on Thursday with the aim of presenting a portrait collection that is more “representative of the UK today.” Following a £41.3 million ($52 million) investment in renovation work, the reopening is accompanied by a long-awaited exhibition of previously unpublished Beatles photographs.
However, the museum has also taken this opportunity to “balance what we show and make it more inclusive and representative of the UK today,” according to Alison Smith, chief curator of the National Portrait Gallery. Before the closure, the collection had more portraits of men than women, so an analysis was carried out, and now 48% of the works on display are portraits of women.
In addition, the exhibition has been designed to better reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom in terms of ethnicity, social class, and disability. British artist Tracey Emin, for example, has been commissioned to create an installation called “The Doors,” which depicts 45 women’s faces cast in bronze and placed on the museum’s doors.
Five self-portraits of female artists have also been acquired in order to highlight the often overlooked stories of women who have helped shape British history, the museum explained.
However, the summer’s main exhibition will be dedicated to England’s most famous musical band, the Beatles, with more than 250 never-before-seen photographs taken by one of its members, singer Paul McCartney. This exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history and legacy of this iconic band.