Former US President, Barrack Obama has selected Nigerian artist, Kehinde Wiley to paint his official portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
This was disclosed in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s announcement yesterday. Kehinde was chosen over 90-year old portrait artist Everett Raymond Kinstler, who has so far painted eight US presidents.
Former first lady Michelle Obama chose Baltimore-based painter, Amy Sherald to paint her portrait, making Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian.
The Nigerian artist is born to a Nigerian dad and an African-American mom.
His mother enrolled him in after-school art classes when he was a child to help nurture his interest in art.
He earned his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999 and his MFA from Yale University, School of Art in 2001.
Kehinde has become renowned for creating portraits of African American men, including the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Ice T, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Michael Jackson, and more.
He is also known for lush, larger-than-life portraits that overlay black street culture with European classical motifs.