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Wrapped in symbolism, portraits of the Obama generate reactions found

14 February, 2018, 18:17 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Former President Barack Obama right and artist Kehinde Wiley left unveil the Obamas’ official portraits at the Smithsonian's National Portrait in Washington

Not only were Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald the first black artists to be commissioned by the National Gallery for a presidential portrait, but Michelle Obama was immortalized by Baltimore-based Sherald in a floor-length patchwork, poplin gown inspired by designer Michelle Smith's spring 2017 Milly collection.

The artist who painted former President Barack Obama's official presidential portrait unveiled Monday is facing scrutiny for past works that depict black women decapitating white women.

After being named as the artist, he became the first African-American to execute an official portrait of a president for the National Portrait Gallery.

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday came completely unglued over what he claimed was a "secret sperm" hidden within former President Barack Obama's official portrait.

Once a USA president's term is finished, it's tradition that their official portraits will be revealed to the public.

Sherald thanked her subject and explained the way she transforms her portraits of American people from individual subjects into archetypes.

"I tried to negotiate less gray hair and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow (him) to do what I asked". "I tried to negotiate smaller ears - struck out on that again as well".

While it was all fun and games, some people took issue with Michelle Obama's portrait, which was met with confusion and criticism for the seemingly unsimilar appearance.

"I was anticipating - hoping for - a bolder, more incisive image of the strong-voiced person I imagine this former first lady to be", Cotter said in his review.




Ben Shapiro, of the Daily Wire, was even more pointed in his criticism-captioning a piece of abstract art with, "LOVE the new portrait of Michelle Obama".

Amy Sherald took a different approach to Michelle Obama's portrait.

While they were interviewing artists for the portraits, she knew immediately that Sherald, 44, was the one.

It does because his Obama portrait is one in a long line of celebrations of the American presidency - and it includes some basic, familiar elements of portraiture.

A few others noticed similarities between Barack's portrait and Beyoncé's iconic maternity portrait.

And if you'd like to see more of Wiley's work, look no further than the Detroit Institute of Arts.

However, the art installation of President Obama offers contrast.

"The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States was absolutely overwhelming", said an emotional Mr Wiley. His work, Obama said, like our democracy, "is not simply celebrating the high and the mighty and expecting that the country unfolds from the top down, but rather that it comes from the bottom up". She's seated in a pensive pose against a background of powder blue, and the painting is very clearly not meant to be photorealistic.

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