Barack Obama & Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait Is Unveiled At Smithsonian’s National Gallery (Video)
Forever my POTUS and FLOTUS Barack Obama and Michelle Obama‘s official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Monday.
Artist Kehinde Wiley, known for large, colorful portraits of African American subjects, painted the former president’s portrait, which will be displayed in the museum’s America’s Presidents exhibition. The seven-foot portrait features a background of flowers, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of the Obamas’ hometown of Chicago; jasmine, for Hawaii, where Obama spent his childhood; and African blue lilies to reference his late Kenyan father.
Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama’s portrait, was the first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, is known for conveying “the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses,” the Smithsonian noted. Her portrait of the former first lady features gray skin tones that are a distinctive aspect of a majority of her paintings. Michelle Obama is wearing a dress by designer Michelle Smith’s label Milly.
Barack and Michelle shared these posts about their official portraits:
Today, @KehindeWiley and @ASherald became the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian. To call this experience humbling would be an understatement. Thanks to Kehinde and Amy, generations of Americans — and young people from all around the world — will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens. They’ll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Inclusive and optimistic. And I hope they’ll walk out more empowered to go and change their worlds.
As a young girl, even in my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined this moment. Nobody in my family has ever had a portrait – there are no portraits of the Robinsons or the Shields from the South Side of Chicago. This is all a little bit overwhelming, especially when I think about all of the young people who will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this, including so many young girls and young girls of color who don’t often see their images displayed in beautiful and iconic ways. I am so proud to help make that kind of history. But the fact is that none of this would be possible without the extraordinary artist and woman behind this portrait, @asherald. Thank you, Amy – it was a joy to work with you and get to know you.
See video of the unveiling of the Obamas portraits below.
I love it!