Barack and Michelle Obama attend the unveiling of their portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will make a rare public appearance in Washington on Monday at the unveiling of their portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Dozens of friends and supporters, including former Attorney General Eric Holder and Senior Adviser David Axelrod, gathered in the atrium of the gallery for the ceremony. Also expected to attend were Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Gayle King.
Artist Kehinde Wiley, known for large, colorful portraits of African American subjects, painted the former president’s portrait, which will be displayed in the museum’s America’s Presidents exhibition. The seven-foot portrait features a background of flowers, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of the Obamas’ hometown of Chicago; jasmine, for Hawaii, where Obama spent his childhood; and African blue lilies to reference his late Kenyan father.
Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama’s portrait, was the first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, is known for conveying “the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses,” the Smithsonian noted. Her portrait of the former first lady features gray skin tones that are a distinctive aspect of a majority of her paintings. Michelle Obama is wearing a dress by designer Michelle Smith’s label Milly.
SOURCE: Ted Johnson