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Barack and Michelle Obama’s portraits have been unveiled

Former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand beside their portraits after their unveiling at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC

The official portraits of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama  have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

The gallery has a portrait of every former president hanging in its gallery, and the new additions are the first ever official commissions by African American artists.

The former President of the United States was painted by Kehinde Wiley, who had an exhibition of hs work.

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and artist Amy Sherald (R) unveil Mrs. Obama’s portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC

at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London last year.

Wiley has depicted Obama sat in a chair amidst a background of bright green foliage and flowers. He said that one of the reasons he chose Wiley to create his portrait was “the degree to which [his works] challenged our ideas of power and privilege.”

Former US President Barack Obama unveils his portrait alongside the portrait’s artist, Kehinde Wiley, at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC

Michelle Obama chose Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald to paint her portrait. Sherald is known for painting black skin in a grey tone to remove the idea of an assigned colour.

In her work, Michelle Obama is seated in a flowing dress with an expression of calm authority. Or, in the words of her husband, one that captures “the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love.”

The former First Lady thanked Sherald for the impact her works would have on young women of colour. “They will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution,” she said. “And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls.”

Both portraits will be open to public viewing from tomorrow, with Obama’s portrait hanging in the hall of presidents and Michelle Obama’s in another gallery.

Posted in: News on February 16, 2018 by...