These Black Artists Will Paint The Official Portraits Of The Obamas For The National Portrait Gallery
Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald will be the first black artists to officially paint a presidential couple.
October 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama recently commissioned black artists Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley to paint their official portraits for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
According to The Washington Journal, the two up-and-coming artists are the first black artists to be commissioned to paint a presidential couple.
“Both [painters] have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery in a statement.
In 2016, Wiley continued to inspire many with his work with a solo exhibition in Paris. Wiley, 40, creates striking pieces in classical styles while using modern black people at the center of his work. The NY-based artist uses bright colors and has a distinct attention to detail that brings his artwork to life. Over the years, the LA native's work has become known for its Baroque inspirations that depict black men as European royalty.
With Wiley's latest subject – President Barack Obama – depicting him as royalty shouldn't be a problem considering the strides Obama made while making history in the White House.
Wiley previously had a 2015 solo show at the Brooklyn Museum, and he received the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts.
Like Wiley, Sherald also shows an appreciation for color in her depiction of black women. However, the 44-year-old artist uses shades of gray to paint the women who are often dressed in fashionable clothing. In 2016, Sherald received the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Competition for her painting "Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)."
Sherald's work is currently on display in the Studio Museum in Harlem's "Fiction," a group show featuring 19 emerging artists of African descent. You can also see her work at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
With their impressive track records, we're sure Sherald and Wiley will create epic portraits for the first black presidential couple of the United States.