Obamas pick artists to paint their Smithsonian portraits
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The Smithsonian has commissioned two artists to paint the official portraits of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina National Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo MORE and former First Lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaSanders v. Warren is just for insiders Overnight Health Care: Trump reportedly lashed out at health chief over polling | Justices to hear ObamaCare birth control case | Trump rolls back Michelle Obama school lunch rules Trump to roll back Michelle Obama's school lunch rules on vegetables, fruits MORE that will hang in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Kehinde Wiley, an artist known for his large-scale paintings of black men, will paint the former president, and Amy Sherald, who won the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, will paint the former first lady.

The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former President and First Lady,” Kim Sajet, the director of the Portrait Gallery, said in a statement.


“Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century,” she added. 

The two artists were selected by the Obamas themselves. Wiley has gained notoriety for his portraits of young black men that channel classical works.

Sherald's work "challenges stereotypes and probes notions of identity through her life-size paintings of African Americans," the Smithsonian said in a statement.

The Smithsonian commissions portraits of the president and first lady for its Portrait Gallery at the end of each presidency – a tradition that began with George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.