The Smithsonian revealed on Friday the two artists set to paint official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, and the former first couple’s choices are inspired.
Kehinde Wiley, well known for portraits of young black men that incorporate elements of Western art, will paint the former president. Baltimore artist Amy Sherald will paint the former first lady.
Both portraits are set to be unveiled in early 2018 and hang in the National Portrait Gallery. The Obamas each selected the artist that would paint their portrait.
“Over the course of his career, Wiley, whom President Obama selected, has frequently portrayed young African American men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion. His rich, highly saturated color palette and his use of decorative patterns complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses. The theatrical poses and props Wiley assigns to his subjects make references to iconic portraits of powerful figures by Western artists,” the Smithsonian said in a press release.
“Sherald challenges stereotypes and probes notions of identity through her life-size paintings of African Americans,” the museum added about Michelle Obama’s selected artist.
See you in D.C., early 2018.