Nigerian-American Portrait Painter, Kehinde Wiley has been chosen by Former president Obama to paint a portrait of himself for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. While the former Flotus, Michelle Obama choose Amy Sherald, the artiste behind the famous life size paintings of African Americans.
Obama’s predecessors have preferred to sit for 90-year old portrait artist Everett Raymond Kinstler, who has painted eight US presidents, two of which have been designated “official portraits” by the White House.
The Smithsonian National Portrait ritual started with George H. Bush. The Gallery commissions an artist to create a portrait of president and first lady after the completion of their tenure.
Kehinde Wiley was born on Los Angeles, California to a Nigerian dad and African American mum. He is a graduate of the Yale University School of art. Some of his notable works include a portrait of Napoleon leading the army over the Alps, a restage of Napoleon crossing the Alps. Other of his famous works includes paintings of Harlem’s 125th street, Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, and Notorious BIG.