Woad dyed her hair, but not her headscarf, to avoid the threat of Islamic extremists in the 1980s, the National Portrait Gallery has revealed.
Woad died in 1996 aged 88 after a long battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan, the gallery said in a statement.
Woot’s death has prompted debate over whether she should have had a headscarve at the time.
“She would have loved to have a head cover,” said Paul Haines, director of the National Gallery of Art, who said Woad’s “fascinating, compelling and deeply personal life” is a focus of the gallery’s exhibitions.
“She was a woman who, as the world learned about her, she was driven to extremes, to be more independent and more defiant,” he said.
In her own words: Woad is the face of the world Read moreWoad is remembered for her strong independence, fearless activism and passionate support of causes and individuals.
“Woad had an almost spiritual quality to her, and she lived her life as if she was a god,” Hainess said.
“Her stories are often so compelling, so personal, that you find yourself in tears just reading them.”
She has been honoured in the US, France and Germany, but has never been to the US.
“Woad’s unique contribution to art and design has been recognised worldwide,” Hains said.