Michelle Obama selects Columbus native to create official portrait

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Wiley is world-renowned for his portraits of young black men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion.

And he's certainly considered how he would paint the first black president.

Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have been commissioned to paint former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama's official portraits for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. "As a portrait painter, I have an opportunity to narrate this story for us in a way that has not been narrated historically". "I'm actively campaigning", Wiley said of painting Obama in an interview with Time Out New York in 2008. In 2012, Wiley told BBC that "Obama stands as a signal that this nation will continue to redefine what it means to push beyond the borders of what's possible". The portraits of the former president and first last will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018 and will be added to the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection. "We'll see where that goes". She is known for painting surreal portraits of elegant black women, their skin done in grayscale and the clothing bright and colorful.

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At the end of each presidency, the Smithsonian works in conjunction with the White House to commission an official portrait of the president and one of his spouse.

Meanwhile, Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, who won the gallery's 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for one of her oil paintings, will paint Mrs. Obama.

The Portrait Gallery says it is still raising private funds to pay for the commissioned portraits and the associated unveiling event, educational programs, and enhanced website. We definitely can not wait to see the paintings of the Obamas; they're sure to make us miss them even more.

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