Today, @KehindeWiley and @ASherald became the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian. To call this experience humbling would be an understatement. Thanks to Kehinde and Amy, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. They’ll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Inclusive and optimistic. And I hope they’ll walk out more empowered to go and change their worlds.
Yesterday, The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery revealed the official portraits of the former United States President Barack Obama and his beautiful lady Michelle Obama. The Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C is the only place that conserve representations of American presidents.
The artists of the portraits are Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, purposely chosen by the Obama family as they are incredible African-American artists.
Kehinde’s style, the one I prefer, is rich in color, intense, strong, highlighted by backgrounds always well-studied and very similar to prints. This artist reminds me a lot the famous photographer David Lachapelle, because his style seems a holy image deliberately transformed through color in a pop one. I’m really pleased to have discovered this artist.
For mrs Obama, on the other side, we have the artist Amy Sherarld with her style in shades of gray on colored backgrounds that distinguishes her.
Personally, looking at her previous works, I would have appreciate the use of more color in the portrait of the first lady: the combination of a pale blue like that on the background with this grayscale tones makes everything very dull. The long dress, on the other hand, is particularly beautiful.
I want to add here other works of Kehinde Wiley that I found cool and the comparison with David Lachapelle: