The Ode to Chicago You Would possibly Have Missed in Obama's Portrait

Image Text
 COUPLED UP Michelle and Barack Obama

Image Text COUPLED UP Michelle and Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits Monday morning at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

Just as Barack and Michelle Obama became the first African American couple to be featured on the walls of the Presidential Gallery, so did Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald become the first black artists to create official presidential portraits for the Smithsonian Institution.

Artist Amy Sherald painted the mother of two wearing a gown by Michelle Smith, the designer behind contemporary label Milly - a brand that the always-fashionable activist has worn in the past.

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"I tried to negotiate less gray hair and Kehinde's artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked", Barack quipped, according to CNN.

"Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. Struck out on that as well". The chrysanthemums in the portrait represent the official flower of the Obamas' hometown of Chicago; Jasmine for Obama's birth state of Hawaii; and African Blue Lilies in honor his late Kenyan father.

At Monday's ceremony, Barack Obama thanked Sherald for painting his wife "so spectacularly" and capturing the "grace, beauty, intelligence, charm, and hotness of the woman that I love".

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Ms. Michelle Obama said she hoped the portrait would have an impact on young girls of colour in the years ahead.

"And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives", she continued, "because I was one of those girls". The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the following lead donors to the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia. Singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen were also listed as donors.

Some people couldn't help but make comparisons to other iconic portraits, with one Twitter user comparing the former president's portrait to Beyoncé's pregnancy announcement portrait. The Yale University-trained painter was known for his previous work depicting African-Americans in the style of Old Masters paintings.

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