Yesterday, February 12, 2018, greeted by much media fawning, the official portraits of Barack and Michelle “Big Mike” Obama were unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
The National Portrait Gallery, founded in 1962, is a historic art museum in Washington, D.C., and a part of the federal government-funded Smithsonian Institution.
The artists who painted Barack’s and Michelle’s portraits are, respectively, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, who are the first black painters to receive a presidential portrait commission from the museum. (NPR)
Aside from the fact that Wiley painted Barack with bizarrely elongated fingers, and Sherald’s portrait doesn’t even look like Michelle Obama, it is noteworthy that Obama chose Kehinde Wiley to paint his portrait — a man so consumed with hatred of whites that he distorts history by depicting white historical figures as black, and the biblical Judith as decapitating a white woman instead of an Assyrian general.
Wikipedia describes Kehinde Wiley, 41, as an openly homosexual, New York City-based portrait painter who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of African-Americans. In 2007, the Columbus Museum of Art hosted an exhibition of Wiley’s work, describing his work gushingly:
“Wiley has gained recent acclaim for his heroic portraits which address the image and status of young African-American men in contemporary culture.”
Artsy.net describes Wiley as an artist who selects “works from old masters like Peter Paul Rubens or Jacques-Louis David” and “replaces the historical figures with handsome young black men.” An example is Wiley’s painting of Napoleon as a black man, which is displayed in the Brooklyn Museum.
In one painting, supposedly of the Old Testament account of Judith, a Hebrew woman, seducing and beheading an Assyrian general, Kehinde Wiley portrayed Judith as a black woman holding the severed head of a blonde-haired white woman.
This is the artist whose works are praised by a former President of the United States, Barack Obama, as “challenging our conventional views of power and privilege,” and whom the taxpayer-funded National Portrait Gallery commissioned and extols (NPR):
“Wiley typically portrays people of color posing as famous figures in Western art. Through this practice, he challenges the visual rhetoric of power that is dominated by elite white men.”