Paintings Of Barack and Michelle Obama Unveiled At Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama Monday in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley created the painting of Barack Obama. Amy Sherald, a Baltimore-based artist, painted Michelle Obama. Both artists were personally chosen by the Obamas.

“Pretty sharp,” Mr. Obama said once setting eyes on his painting.

The final product depicts Obama sitting in a straight-backed chair, leaning forward and looking serious while surrounded by greenery and flowers. Michelle Obama’s portrait, painted by Amy Sherald, shows her in a black and white dress looking thoughtful with her hand on her chin.

The paintings are a historic first. Wiley and Sherald — both already well-known artists — are the first black painters to receive a presidential portrait commission from the museum.

“I am a little overwhelmed, to say the least. As you may have guessed, I don’t think there is anybody in my family who has ever had a portrait done, let alone a portrait that will be hanging in the National Gallery — at least as far as I know, Mom,” Michelle Obama said. “But all those folks who helped me be here today, they are with us physically and they are with us in spirit.”

“I’m also thinking of all the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who … will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution,” she said. “I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives, because I was one of those girls.”

“You exist in our minds and our hearts in the way that we do because we can see ourselves in you,” Amy Sherald said to Michelle Obama.

“The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States is absolutely overwhelming,” Wiley said. “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.”

The paintings will be on display for the public Tuesday.

@Robinrazzi


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I am a digital content creator and have worked in the digital space for more than ten years. "Robinrazzi" is a nickname given from a former colleague because I'm known for having a camera in hand at all times. I have traveled the world covering entertainment events, celebrities and anything trending. I earned my BA in Communications from Penn State and a MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. I currently serve as Director of Digital Content for WHUR and the Howard University Radio Network.

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