The portraits of the 44th president and first lady were unveiled on February 12 at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the New York Post reported. Kehinde Wiley's portrait of President Obama speaks to Wiley's hyper-real style, with the former president sitting in front of a wall of greenery and flowers, gently growing around his legs and shoulder. Milly co-founder and creative director Michelle Smith is the one whose gown is featured in the former first lady's official portrait. At Monday's unveiling, Obama said he was struck by how Wiley's portraits "challenge our conventional views of power and privilege". "I tried to negotiate less grey hair". A political gossip reporter seated near me said she spotted "Axelrod and Earnest" (former White House staffers David and Josh, respectively) and Michelle Obama's eyebrow person.
They also share that their works - many of which give prominence to African-American figures nearly absent from the art of portraiture in the West - break conventional schemes in that genre, and interweave the politics of the racial relations of contemporary life.