Between President Obama and Kehinde Wiley


About a week ago, the official portrait of former US President Barack Obama was unveiled and it was largely received with glowing remarks especially on the amazing job done by the artist.

Kehinde Wiley, a Nigerian-American, is the celebrated painter who delivered the monumental artwork. Obama had selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, to be displayed in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

It was evidently an exceptional experience for the Yale-educated artist who had previously made portraits of music icons such as the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J,Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Michael Jackson. But nothing on the presidential scale like his latest work for Obama.

Meanwhile, the delighted Obama, at the unveiling ceremony couldn’t help but share the bond between him and Kehinde.
“Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support. Both of us had African fathers who had been absent from our lives and in some ways, our journeys involved searching for them and figuring out what that meant,” Obama said at Monday’s portrait unveiling.

Similarly, an equally elated Kehinde couldn’t hide the significance of such an outstanding task.
“This is our ability to say, I matter, I was here. The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American President of the United States is absolutely overwhelming”.