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Obama chooses gay artist Kehinde Wiley to paint official portrait

Obama chooses gay artist Kehinde Wiley to paint official portrait

Kehinde Wiley

Since former President George H.W. Bush, it is tradition for the President and First Lady to have their official portraits done. Two sets are created, one for the White House and one for the National Portrait Gallery.

Amy Sherald is painting Michelle Obama’s portrait and former President Barack Obama has chosen his artist.

Los Angeles native and gay artist Kehinde Wiley will be painting the portrait of the United States’ first black president.

The Smithsonian first announced the news of the artists.

Wiley is known for his vibrant portraits of African-American subjects ‘wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion’. He employs distinctive patterns to ‘complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses’.

He’s painted the likes of Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Ice T, and Michael Jackson in his career.

The portraits will be unveiled in early 2018.

‘The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,’ said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. ‘Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.’

Below are some works by Wiley:

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