The Obama portraits were created by celebrated African American artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. Wiley depicts the former President sitting confidently in a chair with an all-over floral backdrop. On the contrary, the former First Lady is painted wearing a lovely white gown embellished with abstract African motifs. This marks the first time both painters were granted a presidential portrait commission from the museum.
“Wiley typically portrays people of color posing as famous figures in Western art,” the National Portrait Gallery stated. “Through this practice, he challenges the visual rhetoric of power that is dominated by elite white men.” As for Sherald, she is widely recognized for her “stylized, archetypal portrayals of African Americans.”
Check out both portraits above and visit the National Portrait Gallery’s website to learn more. These new paintings of the Obamas will be open to the public starting February 13.
National Portrait Gallery
8th St NW & F St NW
Washington, DC 20001