With their unique portraits, the Obamas leave their mark

Sheri Evans
February 16, 2018

Michelle, meanwhile, unveiled a portrait of herself painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, another Black artist known for bold portraiture. Wiley and Sherald were the first African-American artists to receive National Portrait Gallery commissions to paint the president and first lady.

As in Sherald's previous paintings of African American subjects, Michelle Obama appears poised and powerful as she looks down on the viewer. On one hand, I feel like I know why I was chosen, on other hand it's just such a ...

The Obamas' official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Monday, a rite of passage for former presidents, all of whom have their portraits hanging in the museum.

Others tried to express how underwhelmed they were by the portrait while trying not to offend the artist. The unveiling, which took place this morning in Washington, DC, attracted a mix of celebrities, art word leaders, and political figures, including Shonda Rhimes, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and former Obama adviser David Axelrod.

His wife, Michelle also shared her portrait which she described 'overwhelming'. Now think about what Michelle Obama represents.

"They'll walk out of that museum with a better sense of the America we all love", he said via Instagram. Dewey Crumpler calls the portrait "brilliant" and says "It doesn't look like history".

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"Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love", former President Obama said. "The act of Michelle Obama being her authentic self became a profound statement that engaged all of us".

"The narrative had to do with accessibility, the narrative had to do with a language of openness", Wiley said in an interview. Michelle Obama noted that the couple interviewed the artists before making their selection, and she jokingly apologized for putting them through that stress.

Netizens, including celebrities, have reacted to the Obamas' portraits with United States actor and comedian Chris Rock calling Obama the "real Black Panther".

Here's the portrait of Barack Obama.

"Kehinde lifted them up, and gave them a platform, and said they belonged at the center of American life", he added.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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