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Americans Who Tell the Truth

Shetterly's portrait of Janice Murikitani, community activist and poet

“Americans Who Tell the Truth” is a portrait project by the painter Robert Shetterly. He’s moved from more famous truth-tellers to more recent and less well known ones, but all the portraits share a moving intensity and clarity. The website is fascinating to peruse, with reproductions of the portraits, quotes from each subject, and biographies that summarize their background and reasons for their inclusion in the exhibit.

Shetterly notes, “A democracy, whose leaders and media do not try to tell the people the truth, is a democracy in name only. If the consent of voters is gained through fear and lies, America is neither good nor great. Nor is it America.” His website adds, “Whether or not you agree with a particular subject’s point of view, each is an attempt to create dialogue that will help us figure out which truths we value most as citizens in a democracy.”

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