About the Artist
Kehinde Wiley has made history with his contribution to Barack Obama’s portrait. He has become the first African-American in the history of the country to have developed a portrait of a president for the National Portrait Gallery. It is indeed a massive achievement and is a moment of pride for America’s black community. If you are interested in checking out more of Wiley’s excellent work, visit the Detroit Institute of Arts where more of Wiley’s work is on display.
Wiley is particularly famous for his modernistic paintings of black individuals. A graduate of Yale University, Wiley tries to combine modern aesthetic with Old Master framework. His best-known work is 2007’s “Officer of the Hussars”, currently on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The painting has been featured in the popular TV show “Empire” and happens to be one of the most famous national works of art in the modern era.
The portrait itself shows the former president in his normal garments, surrounded by a ton of beautiful and lush vegetation. The portrait is striking, and although having an old-fashioned style, it feels thoroughly modern and unique. Wiley goes with his own artistic code of “bringing visual codes into convergence.” By having so many different and strong colors juxtaposed in such a unique and distinctive manner, Wiley has not only lived up to his creed but also went further beyond all that he has previously accomplished.
Monday was held the unveiling of a portrait of Michelle Obama. This portrait of the former First Lady was handled by Amy Sherald. Sherald hails from Baltimore and has made a big name for herself all around the country. It was certainly a big day for both artists and the Obamas as well.
It was also a big day for Detroit and the state of Michigan. The very first portrait of a president in this millennium happened to come from one of Detroit’s own. Once again, Detroit has proudly made its way into the records of US history, and it doesn’t plan on stopping just yet. This is obviously a big win for Michigan as well since its principal city made its way to the major headlines again.