The opening reception was hosted by Jerry Howe, Leidos executive vice president and general counsel, and Kim Denver, Leidos senior vice president of corporate contracts, procurement and pricing.
The program included an opening reception and program moderated by the artist. Ellis is a Black artist, trained chemist, museum director of the Southern University at New Orleans Museum of Art and an Army veteran. His work will be on display at Leidos throughout June.
The exhibit showcases the historical milestones and challenges African-Americans face. Ellis’ paintings have documented the African-American journey, history and culture for 30 years. The exhibit at Leidos includes portraits of icons such as Rosa Parks and U.S. Olympian Gabby Thomas.
Thomas won the individual bronze medal and a team silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and was also an intern for the Leidos Health group. Ultimately, the exhibit covers themes of diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
“Ted’s art takes you on a compelling journey through the history of African American life and culture with a focus on racial injustice themes that palpably capture their struggle and the culture they created,” said Mary Chapin, who attended the event. Chapin is chief legal officer, vice president and corporate secretary at the National Student Clearinghouse.
“His work draws you in, exposing the souls of a people that are stronger than the oppression they faced,” she added.
Outside the Leidos exhibit, Ellis’ work has been exhibited at Smithsonian-sponsored events and displayed around the world. His painting of President Barack Obama was presented in honor of the 2009 presidential inauguration. He also created a painting of Leidos-sponsored NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who broke down racial barriers and became the second African American to win a NASCAR Cup Series race.
Ellis once said: “I paint Subjects that are representative of the many facets of American life, particularly, African American culture and history, as I know it. I like to think of myself as a creative historian. I was put here to record history . . . all aspects of American culture and heritage. My sole purpose has always been to educate through my art.”