MIDLAND For the second time, Museum of the Southwest is hosting an exhibition of portraits painted by former President George W. Bush.

The exhibition, which opened to the public on Jan. 23, will run until March 20. The exhibition is titled “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.”

The Museum of the Southwest in Midland is currently exhibiting “Out of Many, One” a collection of portraits by former president George W. Bush focusing on Immigrants in America. The exhibition opened on January 23 and will remain on display until March 20. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American)

It is a new collection of oil paintings and stories in which Bush spotlights the journeys of America’s immigrants and the contributions they make to the life and prosperity of the country.

It is the second time that Museum of the Southwest will serve as the inaugural venue for the former Midlander and president.

“We’re very excited to be the first stop out of many of George W. Bush’s exhibition on immigration,” Senior Director of Development at Museum of the Southwest Mary Katherine Marshall said.

The exhibition features 43 portraits of immigrants from across the country.

“It’s really a discussion on the impact that immigrants have had in this country,” Marshall said.

A portrait of Sudanese immigrant Philip Alier Machok sits on display as part of the “Out of Many, One” exhibition Wednesday afternoon at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American)

Four years ago, the museum had an exhibition that included over 60 portraits by Bush that was titled Portraits in Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

Marshall said the portraits came from the Bush Library in Dallas.

“We entered in a discussion with the staff (at the Bush Library) and this is Bush’s hometown so it’s an honor to provide this to our community,” Marshall said. “Immigration is such an integral part of industry and our community here in Midland and the Permian Basin. We feel that it was a good opportunity to open a different discussion about immigration and the impact that it has on the community.”

Two Midlanders will be featured in the exhibit including Bob Fu and Javaid Anwar.

“They’re Midlanders and they’ve had a big impact on the Midland community and they are friends of Bush and he felt that since they are a part of this community, they should be a part of this particular exhibition. Bush has a connection with each individual that is featured in this exhibition.”

A copy of former President George W. Bush’s book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” sits on display with a collection of other books written by immigrants as part of the “Out of Many, One” exhibition Wednesday at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. The exhibition, which features 43 of the former president’s oil-painted portraits will remain on display until March 20. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American)

Included in the exhibition is a recording of Bush talking about each individual which is available on an app that can be downloaded when people visit the museum.

“You can hear all of their stories by downloading the many one app,” Museum Curator Matthew Ward said. “The president will guide you through the exhibit. You can hear him speak on each portrait. We also have the book as well if you want to follow that way.”

Marshall says so far the exhibit has drawn a high number of visitors to the museum.

“We had quite a good crowd that was here for the opening celebration on Saturday evening,” Marshall said. “We had a robust crowd that was here on Sunday, the first day that it was open to the public.”

Other people featured in the exhibit include celebrities and sports stars.

Former Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is included in the exhibit as well as former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A portrait of former NBA athlete and Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki sits among others of Joseph Kim and Dina Powell as part of former president George W. Bush’s exhibition “Out of Many, One” Wednesday afternoon at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. Each portrait in the exhibition focuses on immigrants in America and the collection will be on display until March 20. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American)

Others are Thear Suzuki, and author Gilbert Tuhabonye as well as former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

“Each portrait features someone who came to this country,” Ward said. “Some of them are names we recognize but others are community leaders that the president met during his life.”

So far, Marshall says the feedback the museum has received from the public has been positive.

“It’s really interesting because when you think about it, we are all immigrants and the story it tells is really significant,” Marshall said. “The impact that we all have is really complimentary of each other.”

Ward pointed out that another area of interest from the exhibition is the way the former president’s art method has changed over the last four years.

“In 2018, you could see how his style progressed and how his technique changed,” Ward said. “His technique is evolving and (Bush) is finding himself as an artist. In addition to the message behind the exhibition, that’s just an interesting thing to see how this person is advancing in his new identity as an artist.”

If you go

  • What: Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants by George W. Bush.
  • Where: Museum of the Southwest, 1705 W. Missouri Ave., Midland.
  • Exhibition date: Now-March 20.
  • Museum of the Southwest hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (closed Mondays).