Portraits of Obamas unveiled at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Today was the unveiling of the official portraits of First Lady Michelle Obama and 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. The portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Painter, Kehinde Wiley created President Barack Obama’s portrait, while Amy Sherald created Michelle Obama’s portrait.
Amy’s portrait of Mrs. Obama depicts Obama in a greyscale (which is what Amy is known for in painting) while the rest of the painting had pops of soft color like baby blue in the background, a splash of red, yellow, and pink on a beautiful gown in the foreground which the first lady is wearing while sitting down.
President Barack Obama’s portrait is due Kehinde style with a vibrant, poppy, and nature-inspired background (closely resemble wallpaper) and the President, sitting on a wooden chair, wearing a black suit with no tie, looking real casual.
I love both of these. We’ve come a long way in both arts and politics today where we can depict our leaders in color, in truth, in art; where we can work with and include black artists in the process. Here today, at this unveiling, the artists were just as important in the conversation as the 44th President and First Lady.
A little on the artists:
Amy Sherald, currently based in Baltimore, Maryland, was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1973, attended Clark Atlanta University, and then the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Kehinde Wiley, currently based in NYC, was born in LA in 1977 to a Nigerian father and an African American mother. He went to San Francisco Art Institute and then received his MFA at Yale School of Art.