Barrack and Michelle Obama's portraits revealed at National Portrait Gallery

Barrack and Michelle Obama's portraits revealed at National Portrait Gallery

Wiley and Sherald break boundaries as the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

In anticipation of the portrait, Smith sent a few iterations of the dress to Obama.

While he didn't grow up with his father, Wiley traveled to meet him in Nigeria when he was 20 years old. President Obama is set against a riot of greenery that, according to the artist, charts "his path on Earth through those plants". To represent John F. Kennedy, for example, the National Portrait Gallery uses an image by Elaine de Kooning which gives the strong sense of being provisional and improvisatory, with the paint seemingly smeared quickly and thinly on the canvas. As it is also the Black History Month, the unveiling of the Obama portraits created a huge buzz online and Netizens couldn't stop praising the portraits for how beautifully it depicted their "favourite" President and First Lady. The artist, Kehinde Wiley, explained that the flowers chart his path on earth.

For the most part, though, people were just really excited.

These paintings were enough to revive the longstanding right-wing meme that Obama is racist against white people and to make Wiley the latest object of the far-right internet's smear machine. What happens when you're painting the head of the free world?

Sherald painted Michelle Obama in "grayscale" - a charcoal color with taupe undertones.

Google brings AMP pages to Gmail: Here's how it will work
Google's AMP for Email will make the content in emails more up-to-date and actionable, improving productivity in the process. Most importantly, Google AMP Stories are meant to be engaging and fast, sparing the reader from lags and loading circles.

Critics said the former president looked like he was crouching in an outhouse, or that the painting of Michelle Obama did not look like her at all. As I marveled at the memory of a reflective president, the European wire service reporter sitting next to me sighed, took off her glasses, and wiped her eyes. They truly must be seen - at least online - to fully appreciate. Her works stand in direct opposition to prejudice and discrimination while questioning contemporary definitions of identity. Quadrants of color-coded seats sorted Gallery staff (yellow) and Media (blue) from Friends (red). Old-timers like me can remember a similar shock when Pablo Picasso's untitled lion-like gift to Chicago was unveiled in 1967, when one North Side alderman sniffed that it should have been replaced with a statue of "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks.

"And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives", she continued, "because I was one of those girls". "But Milly's design also resembles the inspired quilt masterpieces made by the women of Gee's Bend, a small remote black community in Alabama where they compose quilts in geometries that transform clothes and fabric remnants into masterpieces". In this way, Sherald wondrously troubles assumptions about blackness and representation in portraiture. Both artists have addressed the politics of race consistently in their past work, and both have done so in subtly savvy ways in these new commissions.

Kehinde Wiley is known for august portraits of African American figures and has formerly painted such icons as Michael Jackson, Grandmaster Flash, and the Notorious B.I.G.

But ultimately, it presents something new.

"What do you want me to tell Romney?"

Barton Girdwood produced the broadcast version of this story.

Related Articles

  • Eagles OC Frank Reich Emerges as Favorite for Colts HC Job

    Eagles OC Frank Reich Emerges as Favorite for Colts HC Job

    After Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of the job, Indianapolis' front office went back to their search. He helped develop Carson Wentz into a star and turn Nick Foles into a quality starting quarterback.
    NASA Probe Captures Farthest Images Taken Away From Earth

    NASA Probe Captures Farthest Images Taken Away From Earth

    That picture, the brainchild of the late physicist Carl Sagan, looked back at Earth from a distance of 3.75 billion miles. Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region beyond Neptune that extends from about 30 to 55 astronomical units from the Sun.
    Australia thrash England in T20 clash

    Australia thrash England in T20 clash

    The hosts continued their ideal T20I run to make it to the tri-series final which will be played in Auckland on February 21. I was hoping to be better than a run-a-ball with five overs to go and then really kick on, but it never happened.
  • Sky secure Premier League rights with £3.6billion package

    Sky secure Premier League rights with £3.6billion package

    It said it will show "Saturday tea time matches, Super Sunday, Monday Night Football and Friday Night Football". Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said that "both broadcasters are fantastic partners".
    Canada's Eric Radford, USA's Adam Rippon make important Olympic history

    Canada's Eric Radford, USA's Adam Rippon make important Olympic history

    Meagan Duhamel , Kaetlyn Osmond, Patrick Chan, Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue and Gabrielle Daleman were also on the winning squad. Other social media commentators have since debated whether the sexuality of an athlete has any relevance to their success.
    Genesis Open: Relive Tiger Woods' Riviera debut as a 16-year-old

    Genesis Open: Relive Tiger Woods' Riviera debut as a 16-year-old

    The Scot is teeing it up at Riviera for the ninth year running and his performances are getting better and better . In three events this year, Johnson has finished in the top 10 of all three including a win and a runner-up finish.
  • South Africa's ANC confirms 'recall' of Zuma from presidency

    South Africa's ANC confirms 'recall' of Zuma from presidency

    A no-confidence vote is scheduled for February 22 but opposition politicians were also pushing for the vote to happen this week. Zuma and the Guptas have consistently denied allegations of any wrongdoing as alleged by the State Capture report.
    Winter Olympics 2018 drone show was

    Winter Olympics 2018 drone show was "secretly pre-recorded"

    Each drone weighs about as much as a volleyball and is fitted with LEDs that can beam any shape with 4 billion color combinations. This convergence of technology and art broke records according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
    Swansea City attacker Andre Ayew declares himself fit to face Burnley

    Swansea City attacker Andre Ayew declares himself fit to face Burnley

    Swansea have only lost once since the arrival of Carlos Carvalhal and are unbeaten in their last eight matches (W4, D4). Swansea City continued their resurgence under Carlos Carvalhal with a vital win over Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
  • Russian Federation  seeks to regulate private military contractors

    Russian Federation seeks to regulate private military contractors

    Of course, if indeed Russian soldiers were killed while fighting under covert circumstances - in the same way as killed U.S. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday: "We have no information regarding other Russians who may be in Syria ".
    YouTube suspends Logan Paul's ad revenue because he's still making bad decisions

    YouTube suspends Logan Paul's ad revenue because he's still making bad decisions

    Animal rights group PETA immediately took issue with Paul's video torturing rats by saying "Yo, Logan Paul: Death isn't amusing ". The company took action against Paul after he returned to the platform this week and continued to post offensive videos .
    USA  student says airline pressured her to flush hamster down toilet

    USA student says airline pressured her to flush hamster down toilet

    However, the airline strenuously denies that its employees played any part in encouraging Pebbles' untimely death. Spirit denies that a Spirit employee advised her to either set her hamster loose or flush it.