October 17, 2017
Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/ FilmMagic/ Amy Sherald/Instagram
It’s not every day that you get to honor a president and First Lady in a way that will go down in history. Such is the case for two black artists who have been selected by the National Portrait Gallery to paint the official portraits of Barack & Michelle Obama.
Sources are saying that Baltimore artist Amy Sherald will be tasked with painting the First Lady, while New York artist Kehinde Wiley will be assigned to the portrait of the 44th U.S. president.
When asked about their individual aesthetics:
“I’d go through all these art books and look at technique, but not necessarily see my story represented. My dream is for people to look at a black child and see themselves. I want my paintings to take you to a different space in reality, and allow you to recognize yourself. That’s the magic that I want all of my paintings to have.” -Amy Sherald
With Barbara O’Brien Director of Kemper Museum tonight after my talk. It was great to be here with her. She unknowingly gave me my first big break when she was a juror for New American Paintings publication in 2008 and I was Jurors Pick. #kempermuseum #outwinboocheverportraitcompetition #portraituretoday #representationmatters
So much of my work is defined by the difference between the figure in the foreground and the background. Very early in my career, I asked myself, “What is that difference?” I started looking at the way that a figure in the foreground works in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European paintings and saw how much has to do with what the figure owns or possesses. I wanted to break away from that sense in which there’s the house, the wife, and the cattle, all depicted in equal measure behind the sitter. In my work, I want to create an understanding, not about what a painting looks like but about what a painting says. —Kehinde Wiley
Breathtaking work! We can’t wait to see what these two will create for The Obamas.
TELL US: Which artist’s aesthetic speaks to you the most?