Artist Kehinde Wiley, which former President Obama selected to paint him, chose to have the President sit down on a wooden chair surrounded by many green bushes, with a few colorful leaves sprinkled throughout the painting. Upon its unveiling, Obama quipped that he looked "pretty sharp" and added, "I tried to negotiate less gray hair, and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked". Meanwhile, Rock joked that President Obama is the real Black Panther, and Teigen begged the first couple to "come back" and "help us".
Barack also expressed his gratitude for his own portrait, created by African American artist Kehinde Wiley, while at the honorable event.
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Grey Goose) Former U.S. President Barack Obama stands between painted portraits of himself and that of former first lady Michelle Obama during an unveiling ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC on February 12, 2018. In what might have been an unintentional riff on the foliage in his portrait, President Obama noted "no one in my family tree has ever had their portrait done". The former first lady spoke of her late father, who she says "sacrificed everything to give me and my brother the opportunities he never dreamed for himself".
Wiley's naturalistic portraits often address the portrayal of young African-American men in contemporary culture.
New official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have received mixed reviews from art critics and the public. While Wiley's will join the institution's permanent exhibition of presidential portraits, Sherald's will hang in its corridor of recent acquisitions through November 2018.
If I didn't know who painted Michelle Obama I would have guessed he/she was a KKK sympathizer and not a social justice warrior, because the painting perpetrates the stereotype of the angry black woman.