Barack And Michelle Obama Chose These Unapologetically Black Artists To Paint Their Official Portraits

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Winfield House, the residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America, in Regent's Park, on May 25, 2011 in London, England. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle are in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Last night they attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and today's events include talks at Downing Street and the President will address both houses of Parliament at Westminster Hall.  (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Barack And Michelle Obama Chose These Unapologetically Black Artists To Paint Their Official Portraits

You might be familiar with their work.

Published October 15, 2017

One of the privileges of being President and First Lady of the United States is that, after you leave office, a famous artist paints your portrait. In the case of our #ForeverPOTUS and #ForeverFLOTUS Barack and Michelle Obama, the couple chose a pair of groundbreaking Black painters with a bent toward social justice and hip hop to do the honors. This may be the most lit artwork to hang in the Smithsonian since, well, ever.

The chosen ones are artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Wiley will be painting Barack's portrait while Sherald will paint Michelle. According to Complex, Wiley is a New York-based and Los Angeles-born portrait painter known for grandiose, Renaissance-inspired portraits of Black people against heroic and colorful backdrops. He often looks to hip-hop for inspiration and has created works that feature the likes of Ice T, LL Cool J​, Swizz Beatz, Spike Lee, and others.

Sherald, meanwhile, is an American painter based in Baltimore, Maryland​ whose work often touches on issues of social justice and race. Born in Columbus, Gerogia, Sherald's work is included in public collections located in The United States Embassy Dakar in Senegal, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and  FTI Technologies Inc. in Baltimore.

Clearly, the Obamas are sending a message with their choices: they want to be depicted in all their unapologetically Black glory. 

Check out some works by Wiley and Sherald below — we can't wait to see what the finished works of the Obamas look like!

  1. Kehinde Wiley

    Another work in progress. #equestrian #laborday #deadline

    A post shared by Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley) on

  2. Amy Sherald

    New work @ Monique Meloche LES March 3 -5, 2017 #armoryweek 2 Rivington St. New York, New York

    A post shared by Amy Sherald (@asherald) on

  3. New works @ Monique Meloche LES March 3-5 2017 #armoryweek 2 Rivington St. NY, NY

    A post shared by Amy Sherald (@asherald) on

  4. [Work in progress] #studio #art #goaldigger #oiloncanvas #painter #color #summer #beautiful #babes

    A post shared by Amy Sherald (@asherald) on

Written by BET Staff


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