Barack Obama chooses artist Kehinde Wiley to produce official presidential portrait

Danny Woods
October 17, 2017

Los Angeles, 1977), whom President Obama selected, has frequently portrayed young African American men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion.

The Smithsonian has been commissioning portraits for former U.S. presidents and first ladies since George H.W. Bush.

Former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have selected two black artists to paint their official portrait for the Smithsonian museum's National Portrait Gallery.

President Obama requested his portrait be painted by 40-year-old Wiley, who is from NY.

If you haven't heard of Kehinde Wiley yet, it's time to get familiar. In 2012, Wiley told BBC that "Obama stands as a signal that this nation will continue to redefine what it means to push beyond the borders of what's possible". I've done several studies in the past, I've sort of worked out different strategies about how that would be, but it's a very curious possibility.

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The Smithsonian announced on October 13 that New York's Kehinde Wiley and Baltimore's Amy Sherald will paint the portraits. "We'll see where that goes".

At the end of each presidency, the National Portrait Gallery partners with the White House to commission one official portrait each of the president and the first lady.

The paintings are scheduled to be unveiled next year and added to the National Portrait Gallery's popular collection of presidential and first lady portraits. Sherald was awarded the National Portrait Gallery's prestigious Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, making her the first woman to win.

The Portrait Gallery is continuing to raise private funds for the two commissioned portraits, the unveiling event, educational programs and an enhanced website. We definitely can not wait to see the paintings of the Obamas; they're sure to make us miss them even more.

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