- Kehinde Wiley is a very much celebrated painter who has been commissioned by different organisations to paint prominent individuals
- One of the important personalities he painted was the former president of the United States, Barack Obama
- To get a perfect portrait of Obama, he had to work with different pictures of him to achieve different themes
Kehinde Wiley is another individual that is very much worth celebrating. Born on February 28, 1977, in Los Angeles, he is a versatile artist popularly known for painting African Americans in traditional settings.
According to his public profile, his mother’s passion for education influenced his childhood as he started taking art classes at the age of 11.
He got his BA in Fine Arts in 1999 at the San Francisco Art Institute before he proceeded to get MA in Fine Arts from the School of Art at Yale University.
His collection of paintings called the World Stage took him to other parts of the world like Nigeria and Senegal (2008), Brazil (2009), Indida and Sri Lanka (2000) and Haiti (2014).
In 2015, Kehinde partnered with the Brooklyn Museum Art when he wanted to organise Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, a master-show that later came to be one of the defining moments in his career.
That same year, he was awarded the 2014 National Medal of Arts. In 2017, the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, commissioned him to paint his official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, which was unveiled in 2018.
In the painting, Obama is given an enigma look as he wears a black suit, sits on a mahogany chair with his elbows on his knees.
While speaking with the Newyorker, he said he had to use a series of photographs, saying he only had 35 minutes with him to do that.
With that, he had to create an image that meant many things in a very demonstrative manner that captures every theme he set out for.
“My process, in general, starts with photography, and for someone as busy as Obama it’s necessary to use it. We had about thirty-five minutes to get in there and make a series of photographs, and then we used those photographs to make the portrait.
“And the image that I created was the culmination of a number of things. I was looking at historical precedent. I was looking at preexisting images of heads of state, kings, aristocrats, nothing was working. It was all too demonstrative,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported about Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, a 27-year-old artist, who made the 2020 Forbes list for 30 under 30.
The inspiration behind his painting is drawn from West African history, especially from his Yoruba root. Tunji was born to a Nigerian father in the UK. He got his MFA from Yale.
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