Obama has chosen a gay artist to paint his official portrait

Kehinde Wiley Obama

Artist Kehinde Wiley with former president Barack Obama. Instagram/Kehinde Wiley

Former president Barack Obama has chosen gay artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait.

Wiley is best known for his vibrant paintings of young African American men in a glorified yet hyper realistic and modern style.

An Economy of Grace 2013 film PBS @showofforcefilm @pbs

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Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, will paint Michelle Obama‘s portrait. Sherald’s work often centers around social justice issues.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery made the announcement on Monday.

“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 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.”

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