Obama chooses Kehinde Wiley to paint official presidential portrait

Former US President Barack Obama has chosen artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The gallery made the announcement during the recent commissioning of the museum’s official portraits of the former US president and his wife Michelle.

Wiley, best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans painted Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Ice T, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Michael Jackson, among others.

“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 Smithsonian’s 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.”

Wiley had shown interest in painting Obama in 2008 when he said: “I’d love, love, love to do his official presidential portrait. I’m actively campaigning.”

Michelle Obama picked Amy Sherald to work on her portrait.

The Obamas portraits will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018.

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