The National Portrait Gallery today unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Barack’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley, known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans. Michelle’s portrait was painted by the Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald. Both artists are African American.
The 44th president said as he took the podium.
“How about that? That’s pretty sharp.”
Obama said of Wiley,
“What we did find was that we had certain things in common. Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support. Both of us had African fathers who had been absent from our lives, and in some ways our journeys involved searching for them, and what that meant. I ended up writing about that journey and channeling it into the work that I did because I cannot paint.”
The former first lady said she was thinking about the impact Sherald’s work will have on “girls and girls of color.”
“They will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution … And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls.”
Beginning tomorrow, the public will be able to view the portraits, though they’ll have to go to different sections of the museum to find them. The president’s portrait will be added to the “America’s Presidents” gallery, and the First Lady’s portrait will be installed in the “Recent Acquisitions” corridor of the gallery.
I know. I was just thinking the same thing. Even after Trump is gone, it’s part of our history to hang his portrait in the National Gallery.