Barack Obama; Kehinde Wiley

Artist Kehinde Wiley and Barack Obama unveil Obama’s official portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Feb. 12, 2018. (Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik)

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled Monday morning the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas selected African-American artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald making them the first black painters commissioned by the museum for presidential portraits. The stunning portraits will significantly modify the museum’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition, where every other president’s portrait lives.

The official portraits. Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley. Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald.

— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) February 12, 2018

In Wiley’s painting, Obama sits on a wooden throne surrounded by vibrant green foliage and multi-colored flowers that acknowledge his journey: jasmine for Hawaii; African blue lilies from his father’s home country of Kenya; and chrysanthemums, Chicago’s official flower. In Sherald’s painting, the first lady gazes out regally, her skin gray and juxtaposed against a light blue background.

Wiley, an established artist known for his large portraits of black men like LL Cool J, Michael Jackson and Notorious B.I.G., infuses majesty, power and heroism into his paintings. His rendition of Obama is no different.

Sherald hails …read more

Source:: Salon – Entertainment


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