A Nigerian-American artist, Kehinde Wiley, has been selected by the Smithsonian Museum to draw the portrait of former US President Barrack Obama.
This portrait would be placed in the National Portrait Gallery of the museum where those of other former US presidents and first ladies are kept. Hence, artists that designed these portraits are of notable handcrafts and skills. Making this appointment a great deal for Nigeria and Africa.
Wiley is known for his high naturalist design of portraits of some important personalities. In 2005, he painted “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps” which was based on the Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David. This work was started as one of his greatest paints.
Announcing Wiley’s selection, the National Portrait Gallery said it was delighted to be working with the young artist along with the Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald. Amy Sherald will be doing a portrait of the former American First Lady Michelle Obama.
“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. 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,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery.
The museum further stated that Wiley was specifically selected by the former President Obama for his rich and highly inundated colour palette and his use of embellished patterns.
“Over the course of his career, Wiley (b. Los Angeles, 1977), whom President Obama selected, has frequently portrayed young African American men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion. His rich, highly saturated colour palette and his use of decorative patterns complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses. The theatrical poses and props Wiley assigns to his subjects make references to iconic portraits of powerful figures by Western artists,” the museum wrote on its website.
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