The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of our President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Monday.
The gallery is part of the Smithsonian group of museums and complete collection of presidential portraits.
via NBC News:
Barack Obama’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley — an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans.
Michelle Obama’s portrait, the gallery commissioned Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.
The former first lady spoke of the personal connection she made with Sherald and the legacy her painting will have in the gallery for young girls of color.
“As I look at this portrait, I’m a little overwhelmed. I’m humbled, honored, proud,” she said, “but most of all, I’m so incredibly grateful to all those who came before me in this journey.”
“Of course, I think about my mommy, Marian Robinson, always putting herself last on her list to make possible [and] thinking of girls, girls of color, who will come to this place who will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great institution.”
“I know about the impact it’ll have on their lives, because I was one of those girls,” she added.
Former President Obama also talked about the kinship between him and Wiley, both of whom were raised by American mothers and absentee African fathers, he said. Obama said he worked with Wiley largely because his body of work captures unsung Americans.
“What I saw when I saw his portraits — they always challenged the way we view power, wealth, privilege, grace, destiny, and beauty of so many who are invisible in our lives,” he said. “People in our families, people who built this country, built this capital, served food, took out the garbage.”
“They can be lifted up, given a platform, and that they belong in the center of American life,” he added. “In my small way, I believe that is what politics should be about— not just celebrate the high and mighty.”
Take a look at the photos below. What do you think?