Portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama were revealed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The images were painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively.
Michelle's portrait was unveiled first. It was painted by Amy Sherald. Sherald is an African-American painter based out of Baltimore. Her portraits often address issues of social justice.
According to the notes at the museum, “[Sherald is] known for her stylized, archetypal portrayals of African Americans...A personification of resilience herself, Sherald conveys the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses.”
Michelle Obama’s portrait shows the former first lady clad in a floor-length, flowing gown. She is seated, staring directly at the viewer with a calm, neutral expression.
After the portrait was unveiled, Sherald spoke about her inspiration behind the portrait. “You exist in our minds and our hearts in the way that we do because we can see ourselves in you.”
Barack Obama’s portrait was then unveiled. His portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley, features the former president seated in a wood chair with a serene expression. The background is covered with greenery.
Wiley shared, “The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States is absolutely overwhelming. It doesn’t get any better than that. I was humbled by this invitation but I was also inspired by Barack Obama’s personal story.”
When former president Obama spoke, he praised Sherald for the incredible painting of his wife. He said that the portrait of his wife captured “the grace, intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love.”
He also said that Wiley had been “working at a disadvantage because his subject was less becoming. Not as fly.”
These portraits will join other former presidents’ portraits in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
In other news, Hugh Jackman recently shared how he keeps his marriage strong in Hollywood. Check out his tips here.