Obamas' official portraits expand beyond usual format

11:06 • 13.02.18



Barack Obama tried to negotiate less grey hair, he recalled, but Kehinde Wiley’s “artistic integrity” would not allow it. He tried to negotiate smaller ears but “struck out on that as well”. There was one area of concession, however: Wiley’s impulse to depict Obama on a throne, holding a sceptre or perhaps even riding a horse. “I had to explain that I’ve got enough political problems without you making me look like Napoleon!”

 

The result was a vivid official portrait that shows the 44th president sitting in a suit, without a tie, floating in vegetation and flowers, the Guardian reports.

Obama was on hand to unveil it on Monday at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, where the America’s presidents section was previously an exclusive club for white people painted by white people.

Картинки по запросу Presidential portraits obamas green

“How about that?” said Obama, after he and Wiley pulled down a black cloth to reveal the 84in-high canvas, watched by an audience that included former vice-president Joe Biden and donor Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood director. “That’s pretty sharp.”


The ceremony also witnessed the unveiling of a portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama, by Amy Sherald, whom the former president praised for capturing his wife’s “hotness”. Both portraits – produced after two sittings each – have sombre expressions, perhaps not entirely inappropriate in the era of Donald Trump.


The National Portrait Gallery began commissioning portraits of the president with George H W Bush in 1994 and added commissions of the first lady, beginning with Hillary Clinton, in 2006. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists selected. They were chosen from candidates interviewed by the Obamas at the White House, where the first couple often hung works by African American artists.


Wiley is a Los Angeles-born (in 1977), New York-based artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans. He typically portrays people of colour posing as famous figures in western art, challenging the white-dominated western canon. Some of the flowers in the background of his Obama portrait carry special meaning: the chrysanthemums reference the official flower of Chicago; the jasmine evokes Hawaii, where he spent the majority of his childhood; the African blue lilies stand in for his late Kenyan father.


Wiley said: “In a very symbolic way, what I’m doing is charting his path on earth through those plants that weave their way. There’s a fight going on between he in the foreground and the plants that are trying to announce themselves underneath his feet. Who gets to be the star of the show? The story or the man who inhabits that story?”


Obama noted that he had never had his portrait done before. The celebrated “Hope” election campaign poster was “cool”, he said, but he did not sit for it. “I don’t like posing, I look at my watch,” he admitted. “It’s pretty tortuous trying to take a photograph of me, never mind a portrait.”


Both Obama and Wiley were raised by American mothers and had African fathers who were absent, the former president noted. “But what I was always struck by whenever I saw his portraits was the degree to which they challenged our conventional views of power and privilege and the way that he would take extraordinary care and precision and vision in recognising the beauty and the grace and the dignity of people who are so often invisible in our lives and put them on a grand stage, on a grand scale, and force us to look and see them in ways that so often they were not.

 

 





Загрузка...

LATEST NEWSAll Today news

17:44 • 23/05

Nikol Pashinyan hosts AGBU Central Board members

17:11 • 23/05

Pompeo might have pulled the plug on Armenian-Iranian trade - Eurasia Future

16:26 • 23/05

Pashinyan: IT sector 'key priority' for Armenian government

15:40 • 23/05

Arsenal names former PSG boss as successor to Wenger

15:26 • 23/05

Israeli Security Cabinet convening in underground bunker

15:14 • 23/05

British presenter dives to catch loose horse at Chepstow

15:00 • 23/05

Statistics reveals twofold increase in Armenian employment migrants' number in Russia

14:38 • 23/05

US to ease crisis-era banking rules

14:02 • 23/05

Armenian employee of Scottsdale takes $250K from jeweler before trip to homeland

13:47 • 23/05

Thomas de Waal: Karabakh peace process needs shaking up - but not too much  

12:06 • 23/05

Hraparak: Armenia's neighbors 'not content' with new National Security Council chief

11:35 • 23/05

Facebook apologizes for failure to 'prevent misuse'

11:17 • 23/05

Airstrikes neutralize PKK militants in Eastern Turkey

11:04 • 23/05

Soldier found dead in Armenian military post  

10:50 • 23/05

Iran says ‘will not seek’ permission from any power to develop weapons

10:38 • 23/05

Heatwave in Pakistan kills 65 people and leaves dozens passing out in the street

09:59 • 23/05

Philip Roth dies at 85

09:33 • 23/05

US Secretary of State Pompeo shares ANCA’s Enthusiasm about Armenia’s peaceful political Transition

09:10 • 23/05

Trump says summit with North Korea's leader may be delayed

17:51 • 22/05

Pope Francis extends support to gay men

17:43 • 22/05

Turkey to review ties with Israel

17:25 • 22/05

Armenian cabinet conducts special meeting  

16:57 • 22/05

US and Israel should recognize the Armenian Genocide - Bloomberg

16:34 • 22/05

Film on Syrian-Armenian refugees wins top prize in Sevastopol festival  

15:50 • 22/05

Serj Tankian warns against speculations over Armenian Genocide  

15:21 • 22/05

Armenian boxers win four medals in intn’l tournament

14:42 • 22/05

Artsakh’s participation in negotiations crucial for future peace – MFA spokesperson

13:51 • 22/05

Charlize Theron to star as Megyn Kelly in film about Fox News

13:44 • 22/05

Study into malaria genetics shows how disease became deadly

13:32 • 22/05

Meghan Markle's father is seen for first time since missing her wedding 

13:17 • 22/05

Trump goes rogue on phone security

13:08 • 22/05

Iran condemns US sanctions

13:00 • 22/05

UK turns blind eye to 'dirty Russian money'

12:32 • 22/05

No serious foreign policy changes should be expected in Armenia - Richard Giragosian

10:36 • 22/05

Zhoghovurd: Slowdown in Armenia’s economy ‘officially reported’ after 'velvet revolution'  

09:37 • 22/05

Turkish court to jail 104 ex-military for life in coup trial

09:28 • 22/05

Masked gunmen in Marseille open fire with automatic rifles

09:08 • 22/05

Japanese mountain climber dies on eighth attempt on Everest

18:05 • 21/05

No plans for ‘freezing credits’ discussed with government – Central Bank president

17:02 • 21/05

Ucom drops prices for more than 60 smartphones and launches iPhone 8 red sales

16:49 • 21/05

Explosion kills at least 2 in Azerbaijani capital

15:04 • 21/05

Taxation policies not profitable for mine exploiters in Armenia – environmentalist

13:41 • 21/05

Hillary Clinton trolls Trump with Russian hat during Yale commencement speech 

12:45 • 21/05

Georgia 'agrees to negotiate' Armenia-Russia trade corridor plan with Moscow  

12:10 • 21/05

Jenna Dewan rocks Chin-Length Bob at Billboard Music Awards after chopping off hair

11:58 • 21/05

Iran uses nuclear pact as bargaining chip with EU over US sanctions

11:13 • 21/05

Thessaloniki mayor beaten up

11:00 • 21/05

Former civic activist to head State Control Service

10:40 • 21/05

Man Utd 'can fight for Premier League & Champions League with right signings'

10:11 • 21/05

Beyoncé 'buys her own church' in New Orleans 

09:25 • 21/05

US Department of Justice to probe Trump campaign 'infiltration'

09:13 • 21/05

Venezuela: Maduro wins second term in controversial presidential election

19:38 • 19/05

“Renaissance” Foundation organized an event dedicated to well-known Armenian-American writer William Saroyan

15:41 • 19/05

German twins who were the first ever babies treated for a genetic disease in womb thriving two years after doctors gave potentially lethal diagnosis

15:05 • 19/05

Top national security official denies arrival of FBI experts in Armenia

14:30 • 19/05

Nagorno-Karabakh reports 250 Azerbaijani ceasefire violations  

14:07 • 19/05

Turkey, UK to intensify talks for post-Brexit free trade deal

13:38 • 19/05

Armenian, Artsakh foreign ministers discuss progress in peace talks

13:08 • 19/05

Prince Harry and Meghan Merkle to be named Duke and Duchess of Sussex  

12:33 • 19/05

Zhoghovurd: Marriages and divorces 'on the rise' in Armenia  

12:10 • 19/05

Italian Open: Sharapova to play Simon Halep in semi-finals

11:49 • 19/05

Zhamanak: Pashinyan invited to attend EU partner countries' forum

11:26 • 19/05

Shia cleric bloc wins Iraq elections

10:55 • 19/05

Artsakh will remain key priority on Armenia's foreign policy agenda – Zohrab Mnatsakanyan

09:59 • 19/05

Royal wedding 2018: Millions set to watch Prince Harry wed Meghan Merkle

09:29 • 19/05

10 die in Texas school shooting

09:12 • 19/05

More than 100 reported killed in Cuba plane crash

18:20 • 18/05

Nikol Pashinyan, Richard Mills discuss agenda of US-Armenia relations

17:45 • 18/05

Political changes in Armenia marked ‘cultural revolution’ – opinions

16:55 • 18/05

Fitch: Armenia transition smooth; new PM faces political tests

16:22 • 18/05

Armenian authorities must ‘demonstrate political will’ to complete promised reforms – economist

15:22 • 18/05

Ucom hires Polytechnic University students on competitive basis

15:08 • 18/05

GQ pokes fun at Vanity Fair with extra arms and legs on 'comedy' cover

14:56 • 18/05

Royal wedding: Prince Charles to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle to Prince Harry

14:29 • 18/05

Turkey’s move to recall ambassador not to diminish relations - State Department spokesperson

14:08 • 18/05

Nikol Pashinyan introduces new chief of National Security Council

13:25 • 18/05

EU looks to avoid Trump's anti-Iran sanctions

13:16 • 18/05

PayPal acquires Swedish payments firm iZettle for $2.2bn

12:33 • 18/05

Why didn’t Putin interfere in Armenia’s Velvet Revolution? – Foreign Affairs

12:16 • 18/05

US seeks to build global coalition against Iran

11:57 • 18/05

Corruption ‘heavily undermined’ Armenia’s economy – Daron Acemoglu

10:54 • 18/05

Republican Party of Armenia 'not considering snap elections' – spokesperson

10:15 • 18/05

Russia's new hypersonic weapon will likely be ready for war by 2020

09:50 • 18/05

Turkish court orders release of suspect in Dink case

09:30 • 18/05

Hawaii volcano erupts explosively

09:12 • 18/05

First female director of CIA confirmed

14:10 • 17/05

YouTube launching new music streaming service

14:04 • 17/05

Juventus goalkeeper to leave club ‘at the end of season’

13:57 • 17/05

EEU and China sign trade cooperation agreement

13:30 • 17/05

AI-powered camera ‘captures’ sleepy students in Chinese High-Tech school

13:16 • 17/05

Tourist lets a leopard get a little too close in safari park as it playfully paws his shoe before scratching his leg

12:59 • 17/05

Head of National Statistical Service re-appointed

12:48 • 17/05

NATO office in Chisunau ‘likely to close’ after election

12:44 • 17/05

Trump orders new anti-Russia sanctions

12:32 • 17/05

Armenian premier appoints new head of State Revenue Committee

12:05 • 17/05

Iran, EEU agree on free trade cooperation

11:46 • 17/05

Turkey condemns US court’s sentence on former Halkbank manager Hakan Atilla

11:32 • 17/05

Zhoghovurd: Revolutionary developments ‘inspire hope for judiciary reforms’ in Armenia, says senior judge

10:54 • 17/05

Political developments in Armenia ‘create new dynamics’ in Karabakh peace talks – Dennis Sammut

09:59 • 17/05

Armenian Foreign Ministry ‘concerned’ over Gaza Strip tensions