Michelle Obama's portrait artist overcame heart transplant

Artist Kehinde Wiley and Barack Obama participate in the unveiling of Obama's portrait. REUTERS  Jim Bourg

Artist Kehinde Wiley and Barack Obama participate in the unveiling of Obama's portrait. REUTERS Jim Bourg

The official portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama were unveiled yesterday at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

The Obamas' portraits follow an established Washington tradition: the National Portrait Gallery has commissioned portraits of outgoing U.S. presidents and first ladies since 1962.

WorldNetDaily led its story about Wiley with the observation that Obama "apparently enjoys painting portraits of black women holding the severed heads of white people". "You exist in our minds and our hearts in the way that you do because we can see ourselves in you", Sherald said.

"I'm thinking of all the girls of colour who will come and see someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American Institution", said the former United States first lady. Her paintings have less realism and focus on shape and color.

The artists, chosen by the Obamas, have combined traditional representation with elements that underscore the complexity of their subjects, and the historic fact of their political rise. The portraits were commissioned by the Gallery, for Kehinde Wiley to create President Obama's portrait, and Amy Sherald that of Michelle Obama. But I think there will be considerable acclaim for this work, too, because Sherald managed to stay true to her own stylistic inclinations while producing a serviceable formal image.

At the portrait unveiling, Sherald said she was drawn to this particular dress because it reminded her of quilts made by African American women in the South.

Xiaomi Mi TV 4 FAQ, pros, cons, user queries and answers
Both the front and rear cameras on the Redmi Note 5 Pro offers the portrait mode for capturing photos with blurred background. The Redmi Note 5 will be packed with 3 GB RAM for the 32 GB variant and will have 4GB RAM in its 64GB storage model.

"What do you want me to tell Romney?"

To combat critical perceptions of Michelle's portrait, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennettoffered some details on Sherald's artistic style, which is reportedly why she was chosen to paint the former first lady. "What did they say?" she asked to no one. And yet this is how the subject would like posterity-young black girls especially, she said in a speech-to see her, through Sherald's vision: as a herald of success.

At the Smithsonian unveiling, Michelle Obama and the forty-four-year-old Sherald together pulled down brown wraps to expose a painting of shocking mystery.

From the outset, the portraits have given much to talk about in the world of the arts because the Obamas personally chose, from among a score of artists, those who would capture their images on the canvas.

Wiley is known for painting young African-American men in bright, bold, regal settings that are influenced by art history. She's seated in a pensive pose against a background of powder blue, and the painting is very clearly not meant to be photorealistic.

The former president was painted in a suit - without a tie - against a background of leaves and flowers on the edge of a wooden chair, and the former FLOTUS looked lovely in a flowy dress with geometric patterns and a halter neckline.

Latest News