The New York Times
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The Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has picked Artist Kehinde Wiley, known for his paintings of African-Americans to paint his official portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The 40-year-old is a New York-based portrait painter who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people in heroic poses.

His wife, Michelle Obama, selected artist Amy Sherald, who is known for her life-size paintings of African-Americans, to paint her portrait.

The gallery announced the information on their page on Friday, October 13, 2017.

The two portraits will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018 and will be added to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.

“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,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

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“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.”

At the end of each presidency, the museum partners with the White House to commission one official portrait of the President and one of his spouse.

Wiley whom President Obama selected, has frequently portrayed young African American men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion.

His rich, highly saturated colour palette and his use of decorative patterns complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses.

Wiley’s works include the painting of American entertainers, Michael Jackson, LL Cool J and Notorious B.I.G., Ice T, Grandmaster Flash, Furious Five amongst others.

Wiley first showed interest in painting Obama in 2008 when he said: “I’d love, love, love to do his official presidential portrait. I’m actively campaigning.”

Sherald is best known for her life-size paintings of African Americans.

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